By IVES GALARCEP
With the Seattle Sounders having already booked their place in the CONCACAF Champions League in historic fashion, the Houston Dynamo and Los Angeles Galaxy will try to join them by getting results in a pair of tough match-ups tonight.
The Dynamo face the most daunting task, traveling to Torreon, Mexico to take on Santos Laguna (8pm, Fox Soccer Channel). Houston will look to become just the third MLS team to win a two-leg knockout round series against a Mexican team. They scored an important 1-0 victory in the first leg, and Santos Laguna’s inability to score a road goal at BBVA Compass Stadium means Houston could put major pressure on Santos by scoring a goal tonight. Doing so would mean Santos Laguna has to score three goals.
Santos Laguna is no stranger to needing a home result against MLS teams. Last year they dismantled the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC in their home second legs after failing to win the first leg on the road. Though Santos isn’t as high-scoring a team under current manager Pedro Caixinha, the 2012 Champions League finalists are a stingier defensive team and just as tough at home. In 2013, Santos Laguna is 4-1 in Mexican League play, allowing just two goals in five matches.
U.S. Men’s National Team striker Herculez Gomez will be one of the keys to the Santos attack, and his success against MLS teams last year should make him a player for Houston to focus on, along with Darwin Quintero and Oribe Peralta.
The Galaxy have an easier road to the semifinals, but they still need a result tonight at Home Depot Center against Herediano (10pm, Fox Soccer Channel). The teams played to a scoreless draw in Costa Rica, meaning the Galaxy need a win at home to book their place in the semifinals, and a showdown against reigning CONCACAF Champions League winners Monterrey.
If you will be watching today’s matches, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action.