LA Galaxy ready for matchup with Club Tijuana


CARSON,CALIFORNIA (BDCi) — Canadian international Rob Friend is new to the MLS and the LA Galaxy, so he’s as curious as anyone what is in store for his team when they take on Liga MX side Club Tijuana in the first leg of the two-match CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals on Wednesday at StubHub Center.

Friend, signed during the offseason from Bundesliga side 1860 Munich, got right to the point when asked what he knew of this week’s opponent.

“Absolutely nothing,” he said with a straight face. “This is my first time even seeing a Mexican team. It’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s new. Hopefully I get a chance.”

The Galaxy, in the knockout stage of the CCL for the third straight year and trying to rebound from a 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake in Saturday’s season opener, face a Mexican side that features the likes of former Galaxy forward Herculez Gomez and ex-Galaxy Academy member Paul Arriola. The Xolos enter the match with a 4-4-2 record in the LIga MX Clausara and two victories in their last four matches.

Club Tijuana reached the knockout stage of the competition by winning its 2013 group that included Honduran side Victoria and El Salvador’s Luis Angel Firpo, but the road has not been kind to the Xolos. Their last league victory away from home was a 2-1 decision over Pumas UNAM on Jan.20, 2013. Tijuana’s last road victory CONCACAF was a 3-2 win over Victoria last August.

The attraction of Wednesday’s game-the series will be decided on aggregate goals and the rematch will be Tuesday March 18 in Tijuana- figures to be higher than usual, considering less than 150 miles separate the two clubs.

“I think so,”Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “The geographical matchup makes it even more intriguing, if that’s the right word.”

Added Galaxy defender A.J DeLaGarza,” I’ve seen more articles about our game than any other quarterfinal game. I’m pretty sure it’s the most anticipated matchup, I guess. We’re right down the street. Herculez Gomez played here and was a fan favorite. Arriola was about to come here and he chose Tijuana. Obviously it’s going to make for a good atmosphere, the teams being so close. A Mexican team and an American team. We are looking forward to it.”

If anything, ti should help Friend’s curiosity.

“I don’t know a lot about the Mexican league. I know it’s a good league, one of the top leagues,” he said. “They’re going to give us a good run. But we definitely have a good enough team to get a result.”