*As hard as it is to believe today marks the 15th anniversary of the inaugural MLS game, when Eric Wynalda saved soccer fans from the derision of haters of the sport by scoring in the 88th minute to give the San Jose Clash a 1-0 win over D.C. United, the team the Galaxy faces on the road this weekend.
Coincidentally, Real Salt Lake showed just how far the league has come – and why they are the best team in MLS right now – by beating Costa Rica’s Saprissa 3-2 on aggregate Tuesday night to become the first American team to reach the CONCACAF Champions League final.
RSL, which comprehensively beat the Galaxy 4-1 last month, can eclipse LA in another fashion if they beat Mexico’s Cruz Azul or Monterrey – their semifinal decider is tonight – in the final later this month. The Galaxy were the last American team to win the competition when it was known as the CONCAF Champions Cup.
The Galaxy beat CD Olimpia of Honduras 3-2 in 2001 with a lineup that included Kevin Hartman, Alexi Lalas, Greg Vanney and Simon Elliott. Ezra Hendrickson (2) and Cobi Jones got the Galaxy goals.
*Domestically, Chivas USA – who are giving a week-long trial to a Liverpool youngster – are gearing up for Saturday’s game against the Columbus Crew at Home Depot Center in Carson.
Chivas USA are coming off an encouraging road tie in Toronto, which earned them their first point of the young MLS season.
The Crew are similarly a team in transition and that includes Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers who may be playing one of his final games in the South Bay judging by this report (although he also told a reporter this morning he could stay with the Crew, too).
Still, Rogers has to have an impressive season and start living up to his potential before he can go to Europe. Another possibility: he returns to Southern California with Chivas USA, where one of his mentors as a youth – Nick Theslof – is now technical director or heads to Seattle where another influential figure in his career – former Galaxy Coach Sigi Schmid – heads up the Sounders.
A Chivas USA video preview of the game is here, which includes some perspective from Coach Robin Fraser about why he dropped goalkeeper Zach Thornton last weekend in favor of Dan Kennedy: