Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Monarcas Morelia: Payback or Futility Awaits LA

Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy are on a quest for payback when they take on Monarcas Morelia on Wednesday night in the CONCACAF Champions League. The Galaxy are coming off a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the Columbus Crew in Major League Soccer action.

Robbie Keane and David Beckham were not in action over the weekend as a precaution. Both are expected to leave everything out on the line, as well as Landon Donovan, who did see some time off the bench in their victory over the Crew.

“We were fortunate to get that goal at the end, and I give Landon [Donovan] and [Chad] Barrett a lot of credit for teaming up on that," Arena told reporters on Saturday. "That last 10 minutes got crazy. We hit the wall physically and the Crew created some chances, making Saunders come up big, but I think on the night we played well. We got a real good effort out of a bunch of players.”

“This is not an easy place to win, I know that for sure," said defender Frankie Hejduk, a former Crew standout who donned the captain's armband on Saturday. "To battle back with the week we had, and get the goal at the end there says a lot about the heart and the character of this LA Galaxy team.

"This is what championship teams are made of and we’re right on the path to getting there.”

Chad Barrett was responsible for the game-winner, scoring off an initial save by Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer on Donovan.

“They were really starting to pile it on at the end and coming into that game was really tough, really fast tempo," Barrett said after the match. "Columbus really went for it, they made a lot of attacking substitutions.

"They were really starting to get exposed at the back since they were going forward so much. Josh Saunders made two unbelievable saves, the team played amazing tonight.”

Los Angeles is 2-2-0 (six points) and needs to win on Wednesday against Morelia in order to stay alive heading into the final match day against already-eliminated C.D. Motagua in October.

Morelia rallied from a one-goal deficit late through goals by Adrian Aldrete and Miguel Sabah to secure a 2-1 victory over the Galaxy at Estadio Morelos in Morelia, Mexico.

Morelia are currently seventh in the 2011 Apertura with a record of 4-3-1 (13 points). Sabah is the club's leading scorer in the Apertura with four this season, recording a hat trick against Queretaro this past Sunday.

Landon Donovan leads Los Angeles in goals scored with 12 while David Beckham paces the Galaxy with 14 assists.

A key player to Los Angeles's hopes is the gameplay of Josh Saunders. Saunders has been unable to adjust to the pace against Morelia and Liga Deportiva Alajuelense, but the Puerto Rican international acquitted himself against Columbus, making four saves.

Hejduk should be available for the match against Morelia, as will A.J. DeLaGarza and Omar Gonzalez. Todd Dunivant did not start against Columbus, and his match fitness will make him a game-time decision against Monarcas.

It's going to be tough for me to say this, but I think the Los Angeles Galaxy are going to be eliminated on Wednesday. This is a team that is not ready for the grueling schedule that comes from being in regional action.

They should be on track to get another crack at it next year when they defend their Supporters' Shield, but I see them exiting this tournament with a draw.

Los Angeles Galaxy 2, Monarcas Morelia 2
Kickoff is scheduled for Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.

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