Bruce Arena sat down with the local media on Thursday and made one thing perfectly clear: the priority over the next two months is the Champion's League. It's the opinion of this reporter that Champion's League is the most important competition MLS teams can participate in. Soccer is a global game, and clubs don't prove their mettle until they prove it against international competition.
For the Galaxy, that's going to mean coming out of a group containing some of the toughest places for Americans to play: Mexico and Central America.
"Having evaluated all four groups, I can't imagine there's a more difficult group," said manager Bruce Arena. "We have Morelia, one of the top teams in Mexico, and the same with Alaguelense and Motagua. Those are all good teams and it's going to be very difficult."
What the Galaxy do have going for them, is time and location. Having the weekend off means the team can train through the weekend, focusing on an opponent they've never seen before. Being at home, means they can set six points as the goal and really mean it.
"We're very fortunate to have the first two games at home. For us, the game on Tuesday is our biggest game of the year. We have to win that game, and it's going to be a test."
Look specifically at Tuesday's game, the Motaguan roster is filled with national team players. They also boast former Galaxy midfielder Guillermo "Pando" Ramirez and 2004 MLS MVP Amado Guevara. Their manager Ramon Maradiaga has been managing since 2002, with the Honduran and Guatemalan national teams on his resume.
"They're going to challenge us. They have very experienced players, an experienced coach. Players that have played in MLS, and I think they're going to try and come into the Home Depot Center and steal a win."
Bruce said that the objecting the Champion's League when you're on the road is to steal a point, and that might be the biggest challenge for the Galaxy. So much of their game this year has depended on counters and restarts, it'll be difficult if they have to generate goals from the run of play, against a team playing for the draw. Of course, one only has to look back to last year against Puerto Rico to see that's not always the case.
It will be at the very least, a good match. It's important that Galaxy fans turn out for what is really the most important competition stature-wise the Galaxy compete in. The isolationist attitude says that all that matters is being the best in America, but that's just a small piece of a much larger pie.