As luck would have it, Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy head into their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal match with Club Tijuana on Mar. 12 with little wind in their sails after dropping a 1-0 stinker to Real Salt Lake on Saturday at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Some call this the “Battle for San Diego,” which is an obscene oxymoron, given that the series will not take place in San Diego’s city limits.
“We’re still confident we know how to play here [at StubHub Center],” Landon Donovan told LAGalaxy.com’s Adam Serrano. “We played well against a good team [in RSL] for long stretches of the game. We have to be better in front of the goal. It’s easy to say but when those chances we have to finish them and it’s as simple as that.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Plus. Here are 10 Bold Predictions for Wednesday night’s CCL quarterfinal between Club Tijuana and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
1. No goals for Los Angeles
If Saturday’s result tells anything, this Galaxy team will be doing a lot of soul searching. They will not score any goals against Club Tijuana on Wednesday night.
2. Under five saves for Jaime Penedo
This will be a tough night for Jaime Penedo. The MLS Multiplex isn’t too keen on Penedo doing much to help his case, and he will be making under five saves on the day.
3. Welcome back, Herculez Gomez
Remember this guy? Yes, he was instrumental in the Galaxy’s 2005 campaign, where they won the U.S. Open Cup and MLS Cup. Nowadays, Herculez Gomez is plying his trade in Liga MX, and Club Tijuana. In this match, look for the Xolos’s No. 9 to score a brace.
4. No goals for Paul Arriola
Paul Arriola was one of those players that the Galaxy let get away, but even though conventional wisdom will suggest that LA will pay the price, it will not be Arriola’s day. There will be no goals from this young Xolo on Wednesday.
5. Fidel Martinez will score for Tijuana
In 49 league appearances for Tijuana, Fidel Martinez has scored 12 goals. A young No. 10 with a huge upside, this Ecuadorian product will hit his stride against LA on Wednesday.
6. Joe Corona will score for Tijuana
One of the enduring figures for Club Tijuana over the years has been Joe Corona. He’s made 107 appearances for the Xolos, to go with 10 goals. Corona’s only 23 and has more years on the way for Tijuana. He’s on goal on Wednesday.
7. At least 10 corners for Los Angeles
One of the major stats that LA piled up in their first match of the year were corners. The Galaxy will have at least 10 corners at their disposal. However, their inability to figure out set piece defending is going to negate their opportunities.
8. Cirilo Saucedo with at least five saves
Look for Cirilo Saucedo to start for Club Tijuana on Wednesday. He bring vast amounts of experience and has spent most of his time with Tijuana and Tigres UANL. Saucedo will make at least five saves, channeling his inner Nick Rimando.
9. At least 30 fouls and four cards
A lot is at stake in this series, namely: who owns California? We’re talking Alta, as in the State of California, and Baja, which are the Mexican states of Baja California and Baja California Sur. Look for 30 fouls and four cards minimum.
10. Tijuana activate cruise control
Club Tijuana, having the advantage of jelling at the start of their season, will extend Liga MX’s dominance of the Galaxy on Wednesday by utilizing its young guns and Herc Gomez. Enjoy tossing your beer cups in the second leg, Tijuana fans. Golden showers all around. Also known as a wash
Club Tijuana 4, Los Angeles Galaxy 0