LA Galaxy in CONCACAF Champions League
The Galaxy are in the hunt for a play-off spot in the MLS. However, they will also be playing a total of four CCL games mid-week during the rest of the season. These competitions test the depth and fitness of any club.
Thus, does Arena put out his #1 line-up tonight for the CCL match up?
He also has to plan for a big showdown with Seattle this weekend where a win will help the Galaxy keep pace in the hunt for a play-off spot.
MLS teams don't have the massive budgets of the English Premier League where the #2 squad of most clubs would probably beat many teams from weaker Leagues. Instead, the MLS #1 squad includes high level players in the three "designated player" slots, several well paid (by MLS standards) in the $100,000 to $1,000,000 range, and the starting XI is rounded out by a few journeyman players earning from the league minimum up to $100,000. The #2 squad will be comprised of mid-level players who have skill but can no longer play a full 90 minutes on a regular basis, up-and-coming players below $100,000 (who someday could become stars in the league), and squad players making the minimum.
Thus, for CCL, will Arena use his #1 squad? Or will he mix and match? Perhaps 2/3 of the #1 squad and 1/3 from the #2 squad? Also, he has to take into account any injuries on the club. Some will outright not play so they can recover. But what about the player with the slight injury who could still play? Does he rest them from CCL so they will be more fit for MLS?
The answers will be revealed when he fills out the line-up card tonight.
UPDATE: Arena has confidence in his B team! And indeed, they dominated Central FC. Only Zardes and Gordon from the A team started. Lletget, dos Santos, and DeLaGarza from the A team were substituted in at various points. I wonder what the scouting on Communicaciones FC will indicate in terms of the starting line-up. Am guessing a team from the Guatemalan league might merit more A team players than a team from Trinidad and Tobago!
UPDATE: Found a "ranking" web page. Don't know how good they are (wonder if 538 of ESPN is eventually going to get into this?) but certainly at the top levels it makes sense based on the reputation of those clubs. Would guess the rankings become less clear cut the further down you go in the list. According to this site, within the CONCACAF the Galaxy is #18, Central FC is #72, and interestingly, the next CCL opponent Communicaciones FC is #5.