LA Galaxy vs. Central FC | CONCACAF Champions League Match Preview
LA Galaxy vs. Central FC
2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League
August 5 | 10 pm ET | StubHub Center
TV: FOX Sports 2, UDN, Sportsnet World
If there’s a favorite among MLS teams to finally hoist the CCL trophy, LA Galaxy have to be it. And their deep and star-studded team – bolstered recently by the addition of Mexican international Giovani Dos Santos – will be put to the test in their tournament opener Thursday at StubHub Center against Trinidad and Tobago champion Central FC. On paper, LA are a heavy favorite against Central, a team founded in 2012 who are coming off a CFU Club Championship (a Caribbean champions league).
WELCOME TO THE SHOW: Dos Santos, only introduced to Galaxy fans this week, is expected to make his LA debut against Central in “some capacity” as head coach Bruce Arena put it. Dos Santos’ addition, along with the previous big-name signing of Steven Gerrard, joining existing star Robbie Keane and emerging talents Sebastian Lletget and Gyasi Zardes, signifies a major push by LA to add a CCL cup to their already impressive trophy case. Team president Chris Klein said in Dos Santos’ introductory press conference that the time is now for the Galaxy to put MLS over the top in the continental competition.
BEEN HERE BEFORE: While Central are making their first appearance in the CCL, many of their players are no stranger to the tournament. A number of Sharks players were part of fellow Trinidad and Tobago club San Juan Jabloteh that played in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 editions.
“We have a lot of players from Jabloteh, most of the senior players come from Jabloteh, so we have a unit together,” Central attacker Jason Marcano told CONCACAF.com. “With some younger players, we’ve formalized a unit, got it together and got it right.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
DOS SANTOS, GALAXY: Whether he starts and how much he plays are questions only Arena can answer. And where the El Tri star lines up in LA’s loaded attacking third likely won’t be indicative of his long-term role with the team, keeping in mind the fact that Arena is likely to use a number of reserves against a club they should overwhelm talent-wise. But Dos Santos’ debut will be a momentous moment for many Galaxy fans, regardless.
WILLIS PLAZA, CENTRAL: The Vise (Belgium third division) striker was Central’s co-leading goal scorer in the CFU Club Championship with two goals in four games. He also appeared in two of Trinidad and Tobago’s four Gold Cup matches last month and has five goals in 12 games for the Soca Warriors.