The Los Angeles Galaxy are playing their most importnat match of the Champions League season tonight. It's a fairly new distinction, in a fairly new competition. If the Galaxy want to make it out of the group stages, they will have to defeat Monarcas Morelia tonight.
The Galaxy have one more group stage match, at Motagua. However because the Galaxy failed to get any points in Mexico and in Costa Rica, this match tonight has become a must win situation. Kicking off at 7:00 pm at the Home Depot Center, is the Galaxy's future in international competition.
The Galaxy will almost assuredly return to the competition next year. The Supporter's Shield could be wrapped up as early as Saturday's slate of games. Certainly the Galaxy have performed much better this year in the competition than they did last year, when they lost in the play in round.
In Morelia's last Champions League match, Yasser Anwar Corona Delgado and Damian Manso both tallied goals as they shutout Motagua 2-0. The Galaxy were defeated by Alajuelense 1-0 in Costa Rica. When the Galaxy face Morelia in Mexico, they went ahead early on a Robbie Keane goal, but Morelia were able to find an equalizer. After a second Robbie Keane goal was called offside, Morelia were able to find a late go ahead goal.
It's a memory Galaxy fans won't soon forget. Still, the Galaxy and Alajuelense were the two autobid teams in this group, and should the Galaxy win the two clubs would certainly be in the best position to go through to the knockout stage. If the Galaxy were able to hold form and win this one 2-0 at the HDC, Morelia's goal difference would be whittled down to +4; tying them with the Galaxy, and the two teams would be tied by points as well.
All in all, group A should come down to a very interesting finish. Real Salt Lake brought the competition to the attention of many soccer fans last year, and with the Seattle Sounders already securing their way through drawing with Comunicaciones last night, the bar has been raised. Time for the Galaxy to step up.