Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
With Landon Donovan in the traveling squad, the Los Angeles Galaxy have arrived in Costa Rica with a chance to clinch a place in the group stages of the CONCACAF Champions League after just three games.
The Galaxy face Cartagines on Wednesday night in Group 8 knowing that at least a draw will send them into the next round of the competition. After resting a number of key players during last week’s mid-week CCL 1-0 victory over Isidro Metapan, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena looks set to play a strong side at Cartagines to finish the job.
“I’m bringing a roster that will help us win the game and that’s why he is coming with us,” Arena told LA Galaxy insider about Donovan. “I’m bringing a roster that will help us win the game. That’s the answer to your question and he’s included on the roster.”
Another Major League Soccer team in action on Wednesday night is the Houston Dynamo, who have had their share of struggles this summer in the league and in the CCL.
The Dynamo are in better form the last two weeks with two successive wins, and they’ll be happy to be playing at home against W Connection instead of on a bumpy pitch on the road. Unlike the Galaxy, Dom Kinnear’s side are in a little more of a precarious situation in Group 1, with one win and a draw in their only two matches played.
Arabe Unido hold the top spot in the group with six points from three matches, but a Dynamo win will take them to the top of the group and relieve some more pressure off the shoulders of the players. It’s almost a must-win match against W Connection because the Dynamo have to visit Arabe Unido in Panama for their final group stage match, which could decide the winner of the group.
Before the two American MLS sides play this week (the San Jose Earthquakes have this week off), the Montreal Impact hope to keep their CCL chances alive when they host Heredia in their final group stage game.
The Impact’s two summer signings, Hernan Bernardello and Adrian Lopez, have both gone down with long-term injuries and it’s leaving the squad exposed late in the season as they have a full MLS schedule plus CCL schedule on their hands. The defense has been exposed for goals in the last three matches, including the defeat to the Earthquakes on the road that changed the tide of the group.
For the Impact to move on from the group to the knockout stage, they’ll need to defeat Heredia and score enough goals to reverse their goal differential, while needing the Earthquakes to defeat Heredia in October but still trail on goal difference.
OTHER CCL MATCHES THIS WEEK:
Tuesday – Cruz Azul vs. Valencia – Group 3
Tuesday – Olimpia vs. Real Esteli – Group 2
Wednesday – Comunicaciones vs. Caledonia AIA – Group 6
Thursday – Alajuelense vs. Sporting San Miguelito – Group 4
Thursday – Club Tijuana vs. Victoria – Group 7
What do you think of these matches? Which matches are you looking forward to most? Do you see the Galaxy clinching on the road? Do you believe the Dynamo can defeat W Connection at home?
Share your thoughts below.