• Wednesday Mar 12, 2014

    Close in proximity - LA, Tijuana to meet in CCL

    The LA Galaxy's Landon Donovan (pictured) has two career goals in the CONCACAF Champions League. (Photo: Mexsport)

    CARSON, Calif. -- In one of the more intriguing confrontations of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, two teams separated by only 142 miles will battle for a spot in the final four and area bragging rights.

    It starts on Wednesday at the StubHub Center, when Mexico’s Club Tijuana visits the LA Galaxy in the first leg of the series on Wednesday.
     
    Tijuana is coming in on a high, having dispatched Guadalajara, 2-0, at home on Friday, while the Major League Soccer team is trying to purge the memory of a 1-0 season-opening home loss to Real Salt Lake.  Ireland international striker Robbie Keane had a penalty kick saved in stoppage time to deny the host a point on Saturday.
     
    Now, the Galaxy must focus on getting a goal or two at home before next Tuesday’s second leg.
     
    “It makes us more motivated," forward Rob Friend said.  "No one likes to lose, especially in their first game.  I think we got a little bit of extra fire in us now.”
     
    The Galaxy has one win and three losses in four all-time CL meetings against Mexican foes. LA saw its bid for last year’s crown come up short as it was eliminated in the aggregate-goal semifinal series by Monterrey, 3-1.  The Mexican Rayados went on to capture their third successive CCL title.
     
    “Against the Mexican teams, it’s always tough so I’m sure it will be an interesting game," Keane commented.  "It’s a good game for us to bounce back.  I’m sure fitness wise ... it will do the team a world of good on Wednesday.  I think you’ll see us a lot faster and sharper because the more games you play the more match fitness you get.”
     
    Tijuana sits in eighth place in Liga MX with a 4-2-4 record and 14 points after Argentine forward Dario Benedetto scored the first goal in the 23rd minute and set up Jaime Ayovi's tally in the 73rd during the weekend win.
     
    Galaxy center-back Omar Gonzalez is expected to cover Benedetto.
     
    "Tijuana has been playing very well the last few years," Gonzalez said.  "It will be tough series but we are confident we can win.  We have a great chance to advance, but also to win the whole tournament."
     
    LA holds a 1-1-0 advantage over the Xolos in the only two meetings between them, including a 6-2 friendly win on February 19, 2012.
     
    “We’re still confident we know how to play here [at StubHub Center],” expressed LA midfielder-forward Landon Donovan.  "We played well against a good team [RSL] for long stretches of the game.  We have to be better in front of the goal.  It’s easy to say but when those chances we have to finish them and it’s as simple as that.”

     

    GAME NOTES
    LA Galaxy vs Tijuana

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