Training Trinidad & Tobago-style: The Galaxy are hard at work preparing for their pivotal CONCACAF Champions League game tonight in the Caribbean where the temperature is in the low 90s (Photo by Robert Mora for the LA Galaxy).
“Galaxy’s Giovani dos Santos,10, scores his first goal as a member of the L. A. Galaxy against Trinidad & Tobago’s Central FC, in the second half of a CONCACAF Champions League match, at the Sub Hub Center. Carson Calif. Thursday, August ,06, 2015. (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze) “
Mexican star Giovani Dos Santos will be introduced to fans and the media at 1 p.m. Tuesday in a press conference from the club’s plush Stadium Club that will air live on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes.
The press conference follows the former English Premier League player’s first practice session with the club.
Dos Santos “will be available for selection” Thursday for the Galaxy’s CONCACAF Champions League campaign opener against Central FC of Trinidad & Tobago, Galaxy officials said today
The Galaxy will host Central FC, who are the runners up of the 2013-14 FA Trophy of Trinidad and Tobago, at StubHub Center on Thursday, August 6 at 7 p.m. PT to open their group stage schedule. Following that game, the Galaxy return to Champions League play when they host Comunicaciones FC at StubHub Center on Tuesday, August 18 at 7 p.m. PT. It marks the first time the Galaxy will face either side in the CONCACAF Champions League.
On September 23, the Galaxy will travel to Trinidad and Tobago to face Central FC for the second and final time in Group D action. Central FC was founded in 2012 and play their home matches in Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva. The team won the First Citizens Cup in 2013. Central FC also captured the Locuzade Sport Goal Shield in 2014.
The Galaxy will close out the group stage on Wednesday, October 21 when they travel to Guatemala City to face Comunicaciones FC. Comunicaciones is one of the most successful clubs in Guatemalan football history. Based in Estadio La Pedrera in Guatemala City, Comunicaciones has won a record 30 Liga Nacional de Guatemala titles, eight Copa de Guatemala titles and one CONCACAF Champions’ Cup.
The Xolos play Cruz Azul at 5 o’clock tonight (live on Fox Sports 1) up a goal from last week’s first leg with a place in the CONCACAF Champions league final against Toluca at stake.
Independent promoters of soccer games have had a spotty history at best in Southern California, but the Galaxy have joined forces with one to stage the 2014 Legends Cup featuring retired Mexican and U.S. players at 4 p.m. June 1 at StubHub Center. Participating players include Paco Palencia, Luis Hernandez, Alberto Garcia Aspe, Jorge Campos, Paul Caligiuri, Eric Wynalda, Brian Ching, and John O’Brien.
But with all the MLS clubs eliminated from the tournament, a Liga MX team with a raft of Americans on their roster who are watched regularly by thousands of U.S.-based fans who cross the border are the closest thing we’ve got to a local club still in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Club Tijuana plays Cruz Azul at 7 o’clock tonight on Fox Sports 2, FoxSoccer2go.com and on Univision Deportes (Fox Soccer Plus shows the game on delay at 9 p.m..).
Alajuelense-Toluca is on Galavision at 5 p.m., BTW.
The Galaxy’s failure to advance to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League Wednesday in Tijuana was magnified by the manner of the 4-2 aggregate loss: LA conceded two goals inside nine minutes and a third inside the opening half hour.
That quick 3-1 turnaround from a 1-0 lead going into the game meant the Galaxy were never likely to overcome such a deadly opening salvo against class opposition even if on paper the away goals rule meant progression in the tournament was as tantalizingly close as just one more goal.
In practice however that was never likely with Club Tijuana clearly superior to the Galaxy on their familiar fake field before zealous fans even if Galaxy coach Bruce Arena sounded unwilling to publicly proclaim how much better the hosts were than the MLS outfit.
“It wasn’t our intention to make this game entertaining but it certainly became an entertaining game — our first half play was awful right from the start,” Arena said. “We didn’t win a tackle, our backline was very poor. Let’s be fair, we weren’t good. How good they were I don’t know. They were certainly better than we were.”
Landon Donovan was far more honest about just how shocked the Galaxy were at the opening turn of events that blew their game plan out of the water right away:
“It’s hard to explain,” he said of what occurred. “I don’t know what happened to be honest. We seemed ready, we seemed prepared and we spoke about how we wanted to approach the game, but then one ball bounce around in the box and we weren’t alert, then the next thing you know, we were down a goal. Then we didn’t pay well and we’re okay for a minutes, but they got the second goal and it became more and more difficult. It took us till halftime to recuperate and get ourselves going again. We gave it a good effort, but it wasn’t enough.”
Perhaps Robbie Keane summed it up best: the Galaxy were simply DOA, quickly letting down the sizable contingent of traveling fans:
“The game was over in the first 10 minutes,” keane said. “It’s as simple as that. We started off slow and when you concede a goal in the space of 57 seconds, you can’t start away from home like that especially in a game like this and go on and expect that everything is going to be okay.”
No, you can’t.
Next up for the Galaxy: Real Salt Lake Saturday in Utah.
So it was a soft goal for Tijuana to concede and a lucky one for the Galaxy to score, but the Galaxy have a slim one-goal cushion after last week’s first leg win in Carson as American clubs look to best their Mexican counterparts this weekend in the oft-overlooked CONCACAF Champions League.
I take a look at the U.S. chances in this week’s column.