Galaxy look to finish off Xolos in decisive CCL leg in Tijuana

Javier Guemez, Robbie Keane, Joe Corona

Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

The LA Galaxy may be up a goal on aggregate, but they know that likely will not be enough if they wish to keep their CONCACAF Champions League dreams alive.

The Galaxy currently hold a 1-0 lead over Club Tijuana after a tight first quarterfinals leg at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles last week, but are set to travel approximately 135 miles south to try and see off the Xolos in the decisive match at what is expected to be a rowdy Estadio Caliente in Tijuana on Tuesday night.

The hostile atmosphere is just one of the elements LA will have to deal with. The MLS club will have to also attempt to figure out how to beat a Tijuana side that will be desperate for a goal after last week’s disappointing defeat and rested most projected starters during this past weekend’s Liga MX action.

What Bruce Arena and the Galaxy have going for them is that a goal, especially an early one, would really put the pressure on Tijuana, as it would force the hosts to have to score three times and not allow another in order to move onto the semifinals.

That is why you can expect LA to take a measured but not completely defensive approach. The Galaxy are a veteran squad that has been through the rigors of this competition before, and they have acknowledged that sitting back and trying to absorb waves of attacking pressure for 90 minutes would likely end with their demise in the tournament.

For the Galaxy (who are rested after having a Week 2 bye in MLS play), picking and choosing when to attack like they did in their home game last week will be key. Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane will lead the attack, but just as important as their performances will be the help provided by role players like Gyasi Zardes and Samuel, the author of last week’s goal.

Samuel proved an especially tough opponent for Tijuana’s back line, a back line that is sure to include Greg Garza again. Finding the Brazilian forward in dangerous spots up the field will surely be part of the plan after seeing him clinically finish a loose ball in the penalty area last week.

Tijuana, meanwhile, will likely come out guns blazing and possibly with some lineup changes. The Xolos attacked with a purpose in front of a good number of their traveling fans in LA last week, but they will need to be sharper in the final third if they wish to finally break down a defense that includes center back Omar Gonzalez and standout goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.

That could mean that Herculez Gomez, a well-documented threat and proven goal-scorer against MLS sides in this competition, gets more minutes than he received in the first leg. Tijuana head coach Cesar Farias opted to only play Gomez 10 minutes last week, a move that saw the veteran striker inject some life into the attack and also led to him stating his unhappiness with his reserve role.

Regardless, the Galaxy’s defensive performance will be one of the keys to the game. The back line will need to continue to hold sturdy and Penedo will likely still need to come up with a few more timely stops against a Tijuana side that will be pushed on by its rabid fanbase.

LA will need some offense of its own, however. Not just to keep Tijuana honest, but to also try and end the series and move onto the semifinals.

—–

What do you think are the keys to the Galaxy-Tijuana match? See the Galaxy advancing to the semifinals? Are the Xolos and their American contingent primed for a comeback?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in CONCACAF, CONCACAF Champions League, Major League Soccer, MLS- LA Galaxy. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Galaxy look to finish off Xolos in decisive CCL leg in Tijuana

  1. DCLee says:

    I believe the Galaxy, Quakes and SKC can all pull this off. It will be tough and they will not all probably be able to do it but they have the ability to do it! Hope at least 2 make it and it would be a dream to see all 3 end Liga MX in this competition in the quarterfinals!

  2. MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

    C’mon Gals

  3. Robert Asher says:

    Since the MLS doesn’t want to put a team in San Diego, many of us have adopted the Xolos. There are as many USA team members on Xolos as LA team.

    Go Xolos! Beat LA

    • Brashy says:

      Forgive me if my math is wrong, but isn’t there like 2-3x more Americans for the Galaxy than Xolos?

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

      Nothing wrong with that….as long as you aren’t just whining about it.

    • betamale says:

      As a San Diego resident, I’m torn, but have been watching the Galaxy much longer than Xolos being in existence. That said, I won’t be disappointed if they go on to pull off the win.

      I think LA is going to have a tough time and despite the article and the rhetoric coming out of LA, will come out too defensively and thus lose it’s advantage quickly. Once that happens, the floodgates will be open for TJ.

      We’ll see though

    • dan says:

      You live in the USA, your logic is wrong and stupid

  4. Vic says:

    LA and KC should both start out in a defensive mode and counter attack. Don’t give the opposition any clear opportunities. LA particularly have alot of speed with Donovan and Zardes and can be very effective on the counterattack.

    • Helium-3 says:

      LAG will cannot sit back and counter against Xolos in this game because Penedo was world class last week which prevented Xolos from equalizing.

      If they sit back they will get 2 or 3 goals scored on. LAG must at least take possession and score effectively to keep Xolos honest on their defensive end.

    • SilverRey says:

      I don’t know about that. If either team score one goal, the Mex teams have to come back with 3 to win. If Liga MX only scores 2 at that point (2-2 on agg), MLS goes through!

      I say fight for a goal to start off!!!

      • SilverRey says:

        (this is in reply to Vic)

        • Alex H says:

          I think the LAG should start playing defensively for about 10 minutes so they can familiarize themselves with the play of the field and temperament of the referee and then go try to get a goal. Sort of 10 minutes of 1 and 80 minutes of the other.

  5. John Lowe says:

    is this televised?

    • John Lowe says:

      Found the info. Sharing for all thoes who want to know.

      March 18, 2014; 10 pm ET/7 pm PT (FOX Sports 2, Galavision)

    • Andrew says:

      Fox Sports 2.

      Believe it or not, but MLSSoccer.com is a good site to follow CONCACAF CL, as the games are displayed on the front page calendar with the TV station (in the US) that is showing the game.

      I personally dislike Fox Sports 2, which is not even output in HD or full screen on my TV. I manually “zoom” in and get a blow up, crappy looking picture. Oh well.

  6. Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

    I think the Galaxy have the best chance. KC is a better team, and has the D to win, but LA has such a great counter, I give them the edge.

    Whoever scores the first goal in those games probably wins.

    I don’t give San Jose much of a chance, but they did outplay while at home.

  7. g-dub says:

    I’m psyched for this game. Great matchup. Should be electric down there

  8. LIl' Zeke says:

    Remaining up a goal on aggregate likely will be enough

  9. chuck says:

    So, not even one half :/

  10. Grunt says:

    Still at work. Any free streams?