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Final

Kick Off: LA boss gives downside of MLS wins in Mexico

Kick Off - Bruce Arena (arms crossed)

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Can MLS teams keep it up?

The recent run of success by MLS clubs against their Mexican counterparts – FC Dallas and the Seattle Sounders both registered the first ever wins by MLS teams in Mexico just weeks ago – will be put to the test tonight with two massive CONCACAF Champions League clashes.

First the LA Galaxy will look to maintain their perfect record in Group A of the CONCACAF Champions League when they travel to Mexico to take on Monarcas Morelia (8 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer).

LA manager Bruce Arena believes that the victories by MLS teams in Mexico don’t do him in any favors ahead of tonight: “I think that the results that Seattle and Dallas got don't help us, because I think Morelia will come close to playing a full [first-choice] team.”

The Galaxy will be without their starting central midfield as Juninho serves a suspension and David Beckham sits out to the disappointment of the locals who waited at the airport to catch a glimpse of him: “It's not a traveling circus, you know. We've got to do what's in our best interest,” Arena says.

Following the Galaxy match, the Colorado Rapids host Mexican side Santos Laguna (10 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer), the club that recently courted former US national team boss Bob Bradley and hired Benjamín Galindo instead. Santos will still be managed by interim Eduardo Rergis, who reportedly traveled his first team to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. (SPANISH)

Let’s see if the MLS teams traveling for CONCACAF Champions League matches this week come away with any stories better than the Honduran tarantula discovered in the showers by the Seattle Sounders. “The thing was absolutely massive, everyone was afraid,” said James Riley.

Here's a travel nightmare: It took the Houston Dynamo 14 hours to get from Kansas City, Mo., to Columbus, Ohio, on Monday ahead of a midweek match against Columbus. Things clearly haven’t gotten any better for the Dynamo after Saturday’s 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Sporting Kansas City: “It was probably one of the worst games we’ve had in a long time,” says Brian Ching.

In Toronto, the public perception may be changing slowly around Designated Player Julian de Guzman, who scored one of Toronto FC’s four goals against Columbus over the weekend. Local media are now easing off the harsh criticism: “De Guzman’s tidy distribution and defensive work is becoming so consistent that many are coming to terms with the idea he can succeed with the right pieces around him.”

The Philadelphia Union may have added another piece ahead of the Sept. 15 roster freeze date, according to reports: defender Joe Tait.

Another defender, who could possibly make it to MLS next year is the brother of D.C. United forward Charlie Davies. Courtesy of The Washington Post, we introduce you to San Diego State defender Justin Davies.

The creators of the MLS Castrol Index, which sees Real Salt Lake’s Jámison Olave at the top in the latest edition, discuss soccer statistics in this article and the fact that world legend Pelé did not make the World Cup All-Time Best XI: “If you do the analysis with cold, hard, objective eyes, and look at performance and contributions … he does not rate as high as other strikers.”

We'll see if MLS clubs will rate LA-born defensive midfielder Bryan Gerzicich, who is a former player for Argentine club Arsenal de Sarandí and currently plays in the Israeli professional ranks. He wants a chance at MLS.

If he’s hoping to play for an MLS expansion club, there may not be too many more of those after Montreal in 2012 and a potential 20th team in New York. Here’s what MLS president Mark Abbott told The Sporting News: “Other markets could be very successful as MLS markets, but [expanding beyond 20] wouldn’t be out of need. We don’t need to grow beyond where we are.”

US manager Jurgen Klinsmann had not pronounced himself on the expectations for the US national team at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil … until now. At the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany, where he’s an ambassador for a major auto brand, he says that the mission is to get out of the group stage. (GERMAN)

Arguably the most anticipated match of the entire UEFA Champions League group stage takes place today when FC Barcelona host AC Milan as the defending champions make their season debut in the competition (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer and Fox Deportes). Also, Chelsea face Bayer Leverkusen in Michael Ballack’s return to Stamford Bridge (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Plus).

Lastly, own-goals by goalkeepers are pretty rare, but Seattle’s Kasey Keller found a way to knock the ball into this own net last weekend. If you thought Keller’s play against Real Salt Lake was unbelievable, try this one on for size from Belarus. (VIDEO)

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Morelia fans make LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan public enemy No. 1

Teal Bunbury and Kyle Beckerman talk playoffs on the latest edition of ExtraTime Radio

Brek Shea finishes atop the 24 Under 24 fan rankings


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