The LA Galaxy managed a 1-0 victory over Isidro Metapan last night, on a goal from Laurent Courtois. Arena went with the youth movement trying to preserve legs for the match against Seattle at week's end, and while Villarreal got the assist on the goal it was the thirty-five year old former Chivas USA player that put the Galaxy over the top.
The victory put LA back in Group 8 first place with a match in hand on both Cartagines and Metapan. With a draw next week in Costa Rica LA can clinch the group, and then the October trip to El Salvador will simply be for seeding purposes. Top of the competition right now is Toluca with nine points.
As the LA Times writes, the Galaxy are in a good position to advance. Even a loss at Cartagines doesn't destroy their chances, as they could advance with a victory at Metapan in October. Arena wasn't completely happy with the youngsters saying they could have passed better, but that's a common refrain from Arena these days.
Portland Timbers and the Colorado Rapids kick off the match week in MLS on Friday with an important Western Conference matchup. NBC Sports Network will be on the scene as the Timbers try and secure their first playoff spot in franchise history. A win against the Rapids would launch the Timbers into third place and put even more pressure on LA to get a result against Seattle. The last thing the Galaxy want to do is have to play the wildcard match on the road, or worse battle with FC Dallas for that fifth place spot.
Over in the East, it's worth noting that the Mike Magee led Chicago Fire had squeaked into a playoff position and now also control their own destiny on that front. They'll have to fend of the Philadelphia Union and the New England Revolution, but hold a match in hand on both clubs.