While Sounders FC took a day off on Wednesday in its preparation for Saturday’s clash with the LA Galaxy at the StubHub Center, the Galaxy ran into the hurdle of a mid-week match with Isidro Metapan in the Group Stage of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Any perceived advantage Seattle may have held with the extra rest between matches was nullified, though, when Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena suited up 11 different starters than the ones he used in a 2-2 draw with DC United on Saturday. The gamble paid off on Wednesday, as LA topped the champions from El Salvador 1-0 on a goal from midfielder Laurent Courtois.
The Galaxy still had regular contributors like Jose Villareal, Michael Stephens and Jack McBean in the starting 11, but Arena saved stars like Robbie Keane, Omar Gonzalez and Jaime Penedo rested ahead of the match with Seattle. Landon Donovan was out of the match as well, but is rehabbing an ankle injury suffered in the first half of the draw with DC United. His availability for the match on Saturday is unclear.
In the match, the Galaxy looked like it would run away with it when Courtois, who has just 29 regular season minutes this season, netted a left-footed curler in the sixth minute to take the 1-0 lead. But Metapan wouldn’t go down without a fight. Henry Hernandez went on to save five Galaxy shots to keep his team close, but Metapan, who is making its sixth straight appearance in CONCACAF Champions League, managed just three shots of its own. LA goalkeeper Bryan Rowe was up to the task and kept the clean sheet for LA’s second victory in as many matches in the Group Stage.
The only regular starters for LA to see playing time were Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho and Gyasi Zardes, who all came on as second-half subs.
LA will take to the road for its next CCL match next week against Cartagines in Costa Rica. A win or draw in that match will clinch a spot in the quarterfinals for the Galaxy with one match left to play on October 24 in El Salvador, just three days before LA and Seattle meet for the final time in the regular season finale at CenturyLink Field.