CONCACAF Champions League play has been underway, but the LA Galaxy take their first jump into the fray tomorrow against Isidro Metapan. The Galaxy will play Metapan Aug 23, FC Dallas three days later, and then Puerto Rico Islanders two days after that for a stretch of three matches in six days. This means, the reserves are going to have to play a role in carrying this whole thing forward.
The first match in this group saw Metapan defeat Puerto Rico Islanders 3-1 at home. Panamanian Forward Nicolas Munoz notched a hat trick for Metapan, his eighth goal for Metapan in all competitions in just seven appearances. He had 29 goals last year for Aguila so needless to say no. 19 for Metapan is someone the Galaxy must have a tail on.
This is the first ever meeting between the Galaxy and Isidro Metapan. The El Salvadorian squad are the reigning Apertura champions. Reiging El Salvadorian Clasura champions Aguila are 0-0-2 in a group with Santos Laguna and Toronto FC. Aguila were defeated 5-0 and 5-1, both on the road.
The last time the Galaxy played a team from El Salvador in CONCACAF play was August 1997 when they beat Luis Firpo Angel 2-0 en route to reaching the final of that years CONCACAF Champions Cup. The Galaxy lost that championship match 5-3 to Cruz Azul.
That was the first year MLS teams were eligible for CONCACAF play. The following year would see DC United win the tournament with a 1-0 victory over Deportivo Toluca. The Galaxy would win their own CONCACAF Champions Cup in 2000 with a 3-2 victory over Olympia.
The US representative in 1996? The Seattle Sounders, then of the APSL (A-league) won a US/Caribbean playoff 10-0 to make the Final Group Stage where they lost three straight matches with one goal scored and seventeen against. The A-League bid for the vacant US Level one role (had been vacant since the NASL folded) but lost out to MLS.