• Wednesday Aug 24, 2011

    Morelia, Motagua hope to end slides in CCL

    By Dylan Butler

    It's not been a good couple of weeks for Morelia.

    It has lost three matches in a row and four of its last five, including a 1-0 defeat to Alajuelense in its CONCACAF Champions League Group A opener last week. On Saturday, its Mexican Apertura contest against Santos Laguna was suspended after 40 minutes because of gun fire outside of Estadio Corona in Torreon.

    Despite falling to 17th in the 18-team Mexican Apertura, La Monarquia isn't panicking just yet, not with a home match against Motagua coming up Thursday in the second round of the CONCACAF Champions League.

    "It's not a coincidence…," defender Marvin Cabrera said on the team's official website. "We have to be doing something wrong, but we aren't going to be desperate. It's tough to get out of where we are, but if we worry too much, that won't be the solution.

    "Little by little, we are going to try and get better with positive results and this week is a good opportunity with two matches."

    That starts with the Champions League encounter against Motagua, which lost 2-0 in its Group Stage opener in Los Angeles last week. After that, Morelia hosts Puebla on Sunday.

    "We started on the wrong foot in the Champions League," Cabrera said. "We know that games in Central America are tough, but well, now we are at home and will look to beat Motagua to gain confidence to play Puebla."

    Motagua, winless in its last five matches, suffered a 2-1 loss to Marathon in the Honduran Apertura Sunday. Still, Motagua coach Ramon Maradiaga isn't ready to concede three points to Morelia.

    "I have not met a team that is infallible," he told La Prensa. "No team is in another world. Barcelona lost, like Real Madrid, the Spanish."

    An early top-of-the-table clash takes place at the Home Depot Center Thursday when the Galaxy host Alajuelense after both teams secured three points from their group stage openers.

    "They have a very good team, and they had the best team in Costa Rica this year," Los Angeles coach Bruce Arena told MLSsoccer.com. "They have very good players coming off an excellent win against Morelia. It will be a very difficult game."

    Irish international Robbie Keane has joined Los Angeles after a move from Tottenham Hotspur and had a successful debut, scoring 21 minutes into the Galaxy's 2-0 Major League Soccer victory against California rival San Jose on Saturday.

    "We're elated with Robbie," Arena told reporters Saturday. "I think he had a great 70 minutes for us tonight and think there are a lot of great games for Robbie in our team."

    Alajuelense also was victorious in domestic play Saturday, defeating San Carlos 3-1 to remain atop the Costa Rican Invierno with maximum points from four matches.

    However, they will be without goalkeeper Alfonso Quensada, who replaced injured starter Patrick Pemberton, and Jonathan McDonald, who scored the winner against Morelia before suffering a broken right cheekbone. 


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