MORELIA, Mexico — Monarcas Morelia could go with a weakened lineup against the LA Galaxy in Tuesday's vital Group A CONCACAF Champions League clash here, according to local reports.
Morelia's Gerardo Lugo only added to the uncertainty with his comments on the eve of the game (8 pm ET, Fox Soccer).
“We're going for the three points,” the midfielder said, “although we don't know who will be playing.”
The decision would be strange considering the club's next game is away on Saturday in the city of Querétaro – just 110 miles away — giving the players a full three days recovery.
Morelia have had a problem with consistency this season and have not yet won a home game in the Mexican Primera División, where they sit in 10th place. However, Monarcas do bring some momentum into the game after winning away at Cruz Azul on Saturday thanks to a last-gasp goal.
Whoever takes to the field for Morelia, the players are expecting a hard game against the MLS-leading Galaxy.
“The Galaxy is the strongest opponent in the group,” said experienced midfielder Jaime Lozano on Sunday. “It is a dynamic, physical and well-organized team.”
The mutual respect between the two sides was emphasized with Galaxy coach Bruce Arena labeling Morelia an “excellent team.”
“Monarcas is a team that has good players [and] good forwards," he said, singling out Joao Rojas and Rafael Márquez Lugo (above).
Speedy Ecuadorian winger Rojas scored the last-minute winner on Saturday and regularly causes problems down the flank for opposing teams, while striker Márquez is usually in or around the Mexico national team squad.
If Morelia win the game, the Mexican team will move to the top of Group A. Any other result and they Galaxy stay on top.
Tom Marshall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter: @mexicoworldcup