Will Long Offseason Ruin LA's Champions League Chances?

A long offseason and preseason friendlies against ill-prepared competition threatens LA's Champions League survival
by Roy Rosell   |   Tuesday, February 11, 2014

John Hefti Photography - LA Galaxy, MLS

The LA Galaxy have 1 month to prepare for the crucial CONCACAF Champions League Quarter Final match against their cross border rivals, Tijuana. They have just 1 month to shake off 3 months of offseason rust, get their fully revamped roster on the same page, match fit, and fully prepared to take on the 2013 Mexican champions and Copa Libertadores semi-finalists in a must win match.

Can they pull it off?

The CCL comes at a terrible time for MLS teams. Whereas Mexican teams are smack in the middle of their season – thus, at the prime of their playing form – MLS teams are coming off a lengthy offseason. They're out of shape, haven't played a competitive match in months and will unfortunately spend their preseason playing equally out of form MLS teams. It's a recipe for disaster and one of the main reasons that an MLS team has yet to emerge as champion in our global region's most prestigious tournament. Whereas the Xolos will be 10 games in to the Liga MX season by the time the 2 teams face off, the LA Galaxy will have played 1 regular season match.

This past weekend, the public got their first glimpse of the 2014 LA Galaxy when they took on FC Shirak of the Armenian Premier League. Though it was great to see the boys back in action and get a glimpse of what the new signings can bring to the table, LA's on-field product was disorganized, sloppy and ineffective. The passing was erratic, the pace was a step too slow, decision-making was questionable and the chemistry was minimal throughout the match. Though they emerged victorious, LA looked like a team that needs far more than a month to get to the level of a strong mid-season Tijuana. 

Of course, such a performance should be expected. After all, the team has just started their preseason training and is just beginning to get back in shape and figure out how to integrate their new members.

Many will argue that it's pointless to make conclusions about a team from a friendly game because as the name suggests, "It's just a friendly." But there are no friendlies in soccer, especially with such little time to prepare. LA must rediscover their winning mentality. Unfortunately, a narrow victory over a sub par opponent will not serve that purpose. 

Like wolves upon a hilltop, licking their chops as they devise a plan to devour the group of sheep below, Tijuana is keeping a watchful eye on the Galaxy's every move, all the while devising a plan to dismantle their opponent when the time comes. They're beginning to profile their new additions, predict potential formations, pinpoint their top performers, and uncover the weaknesses so they can be well prepared to destroy the Galaxy.

The countdown has begun. LA must treat every remaining friendly like a mid season match, otherwise, they will be in for a rude awakening come March 12. As the wolves make their descent to feast, will LA be ready to take them down?

NEXT UP: March 8 – Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake, StubHub Center, Carson, Calif. 10:30 p.m. EST, MLS Live.

Roy ROSELL

Nationality:
USA
College:
Cal Poly Pomona
Club Domestic:
LA Galaxy
Club Foreign:
Arsenal
Absolute fanatic, especially passionate about MLS and it's growth. LA Galaxy columnist with no filter and a knack for the controversial. Travelled the world watching soccer matches, but there's no place like home.
ROY'S SPONSORS