It could have been much worse for former Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid, but there is already blood in the water as predators circle and fans pile on the pressure.
By comparison Galaxy coach Bruce Arena’s two-time defending MLS Cup champions must merely struggle with being anointed favorites by the opposing coach, a statement that wasn’t so much mind game as stating a fact given the Galaxy’s advantage over RSL so far this season.
Bottom line: Playoffs are a different beast, but the Galaxy’s home form this season must surely be enough for a slim one goal advantage come halftime of the 180-minute contest tonight barring a late defensive collapse..
The LA Galaxy have more on the line tonight in Sandy, Utah than local rivals and visitors Chivas USA do against Western Conference title contenders Real Salt Lake.
While the Galaxy’s desultory 0-0 tie against San Jose Sunday gave them a playoff berth, a shock Chivas USA win — or even tie — would leave the Galaxy in with an outside chance of winning the very tight Western Conference if other results go their way.
Of course, RSL have plenty of motivation, too, but they will meet a team with players who know their careers are in potential jeopardy given the club’s ghastly season that long ago ran its course.
It’s a big ask for one of the worst teams in MLS to overcome one of the best at this stage of the season, but there is a ray of hope for the Galaxy and Chivas USA: The Goats actually beat RSL 1-0 back in March 2012 in Utah
Notable: Influential Ecuadorian midfielder Oswaldo Minda sat out Chivas USA’s last match due to yellow card accumulation and will likely return to the starting XI tonight.
The game is live on Spanish-language station KWHY.
If you’re still reeling from the last minute, last gasp drama of last night’s regional World Cup qualifying games (you’re welcome, Mexico), take a deep breath as we return to the comparatively calm waters of MLS tonight when the Galaxy take on the flailing Montreal Impact at StubHub Center.
The visitors are losers of three straight home games and are winless in five, yet the banged up Galaxy (will Juninho return?), edging toward a playoff spot, are unlikely to feel much of a sense of superiority against a team they have met just once (and never in Carson).
The CONCACAF Champions League labors in relative obscurity with scant respect.
On some game days it’s overshadowed by its more illustrious relative across the pond.
American fans, and the domestic soccer establishment for that matter, haven’t quite embraced the largely inferior regional international rivalries that prompt coaches like Bruce Arena of the Galaxy to field reserves and youngsters for what often amounts to a midweek distraction.
And even television has relegated the product to a minor channel (in the case of last night’s game, Fox Soccer Plus, which apparently hasn’t folded even if older brother Fox Soccer itself has).
But if you haven’t watched the highlights of last night’s game yet, check them out above.
Three goals in 30 minutes allowed the Galaxy to imperiously swat their opponents away while qualifying for the next stage of the competition with ease.
The first two goals came encouragingly from youngsters Jack McBean and Chandler Hoffman, while reserve veteran Laurent Courtois provided the highlight reel goal of the evening with a lovely strike.
And it was all over within the first half hour of the game.
Cool, overcast conditions in the South Bay Friday undoubtedly made Seattle feel at home ahead of the pivotal, nationally televised Galaxy-Sounders clash Saturday in Carson.
Landon Donovan, who was not made available to reporters Thursday, reportedly remains an injury doubt for the game that presumably will also feature a replacement in central defense for A.J. DeLaGarza, apparently out with a dislocated elbow.
Clint Dempsey, meanwhile, will look for his first Seattle goal since his big money move from the EPL, while Galaxy President Chris Klein was rewarded Thursday for his leadership of the club with a new deal.
Here’s gameday details for those of you heading to StubHub Center.
Well, them and experienced backups Pablo Mastroeni and Chivas USA castoff Laurent Courtois in what was by all accounts an unattractive grind of a game, but got the home team exactly the result they needed both in this competition and to set up Saturday’s big clash against Seattle with rested regulars. Beat writer Phil Collin was at the game and filed this report.
Here’s the Galaxy starting XI, which included two players making their Galaxy debuts, BTW: Brian Rowe – Rafael Garcia, Tommy Meyer, Kofi Opare, Greg Cochrane – Michael Stephens, Pablo Mastroeni, Laurent Courtois – Jose Villarreal, Jack McBean, Chandler Hoffman