An up and down week for Major League Soccer in the CONCACAF Champions League.

By Allen Ramsey |

Aug 2, 2010

The well documented thumping the Puerto Rico Islanders handed to the Los Angeles Galaxy last week seems to have set up a bit of a chain reaction. The Galaxy followed up the embarrassing loss to the Islanders by failing to show up for the first 30 minutes of their match against Chicago on the weekend.

As Andrea Canales pointed out in her feature earlier today, the summer leads to tough choices for MLS coaches, and Bruce Arena has a huge one coming up on Wednesday.

To put it bluntly, the Galaxy looks like a team that is running out of gas. The mistakes that have come out of their back line are not unusual for a team that is pressing forward constantly but doesn’t have the legs to get back and defend as a group. Aside from the 4-1 deficit to a quality team with plenty of experience in the CCL, the Galaxy are facing a weather forecast that calls for rain and a pitch that is not always in the best condition, leaving plenty of reasons for Arena to leave his best players at home and crash out of the Champions League early.

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The other two MLS squads in qualifying fared much better in their opening matches. Toronto FC managed a 1-0 win over Honduran power Motagua and Seattle Sounders FC did the same against El Salvador’s Metapan. But all three MLS teams will be on the road this week, and nothing is ever certain in a CONCACAF road match, especially with such slim margins for error.

Mexico’s two squads in the qualifying rounds came out with slim wins as well. Santos Laguna pulled out a 1-0 win against Trinidadian club San Juan Jabloteh, while Cruz Azul coughed up two goals to Panamanian side San Francisco but walked away as 3-2 winners. However, unlike their MLS counterparts, the Mexican sides will be at home for the second legs this week.

Marathon continued to help the Honduran league show well on the international stage with a 3-0 beating of tradition Panamanian power Tauro FC and should coast through with the second leg slated for Honduras.

The other two matches both ended in draws. Trinidadian side Joe Public will take a nice advantage into their home leg by virtue of having netted twice on the road against Costa Rican side Brujas. Brujas, should they advance, would be an interesting side to keep an eye on. The Costa Rican clubs are always dangerous, but Brujas is not a traditional power. Still, the athleticism of this Joe Public, along with their comfort level with the CCL could prove to be too much. CD FAS of El Salvador managed a draw with Xelaju of Guatemala in the other match and the 1-1 scorline leaves everything to play for in the second leg.