Action from the August 20, 2013, CONCACAF Champions League match between Cartagines (left) and the LA Galaxy, played at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. (Photo: Germain Alegria)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- Costa Rica is a popular vacation destination for many Americans, but not Bruce Arena.
The LA Galaxy head coach said his team’s trip to San Jose is all business. And to hammer that point home, he’s bringing Landon Donovan with him for Wednesday’s clash with Cartagines in the CONCACAF Champions League. For game notes, please click here.
“I’m bringing a roster that can help us win the game,” Arena told MLSsoccer.com. “And he’s included on that roster.”
Donovan has been sidelined with a sprained left ankle suffered in a 2-2 draw against D.C. United on September 14. He hasn’t trained fully with the club since.
“We’re taking him on vacation? Is it a vacation?” Arena said when asked about Donovan’s availability. “If I was holding him off until Portland [Sunday], I wouldn’t be bringing him to Costa Rica.”
Donovan has missed two matches, including a 1-0 victory over Isidro Metapan in the CONCACAF Champions League last Wednesday.
“Anytime Landon’s on the field, it definitely instills a little bit of fear in our opponents [because of] what he’s capable of doing,” midfielder Pablo Mastroeni said. “Obviously, it pumps the guys he’s playing alongside. So its great, we’re excited about it.”
LA sits atop Group 8 with six points from two matches and needs just a tie Wednesday to clinch a quarterfinal berth. The Galaxy beat Cartagines, 2-0, in the first Group Stage match between the teams on August 20 in Carson as Robbie Keane striking for a brace.
“It was a difficult match. It was good for us to get three points at home,” said goalkeeper Brian Rowe, who made his Champions League debut against Metapan last week. “They were high intensity for most of the game. We thought they were going to die off in the second half and slow down a little bit.
“We thought we’d be able to break them down, but they kept their energy going and gave us a tough game.”
Cartagines is in second place in the group with four points and will remain alive with a win in its last Group 8 match. Los Angeles completes its Group Stage schedule on October 24 at Metapan, which has already been eliminated from advancement.
The Galaxy enters the match following a 1-1 draw on the road against the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night. Brazilian Juninho equalized for LA after United States international Eddie Johnson put the host ahead in the first half.
Cartagines, currently mid-table in the Costa Rican Torneo Invierno with 13 points from eight matches, defeated Belan, 2-0, on Sunday thanks to goals by Randall Brenes and Pablo Herrera.
“There are still possibilities, in football you can not lower your arms until the possibilities are exhausted,” Cartagines captain Jose Villalobos told Al Dia. “It is necessary to have patience and a lot of order to make use of those that we have left.”