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So much at stake for the Los Angeles Galaxy tonight

David Beckham

Los Angeles Galaxy’s David Beckham answers questions from reporters during a soccer news conference in Los Angeles, on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. Beckham pledged his future to America’s Major League Soccer on Wednesday by signing a new two-year contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)


Los Angeles Galaxy officials have been clear that winning CONCACAF Champions League stood top of the list when it comes to 2012 priorities. Capturing the regional crown means a spot in the FIFA Club World Cup – a pricey destination no MLS club has yet visited.

These global riches were among the reason Home Depot Center management so badly wanted David Beckham back for at least one more season. Chances of mining Champions League gold certainly improve with No. 23 on the case.

What a devastating blow it would be if this dash for higher glory, presumably going on through the month and well into April, were scythed down almost straight away into 2012.

Bruce Arena’s Galaxy takes a moderate advantage into Wednesday’s second-leg CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal. Since Beckham and Co. managed a 2-2 draw last week at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Los Angeles needs only a low-scoring draw (or a win, obviously) in tonight’s return leg of the home-and-away series (10 pm ET; Fox Soccer).

While it’s definitely “advantage Galaxy,” this is no done deal. Two points to consider here:

  • Toronto gets midfielder Julian de Guzman and forward Nick Soolsma back. Both were suspended for last week’s first leg due to yellow card accumulation in group play (which was late last season). The veteran de Guzman adds another element to TFC’s midfield, which had enough bite last week but wasn’t so smooth in the passing department.
  • And TFC is the better rested side, by far. Aron Winter’s men took it easy over the weekend, idle in MLS Week 1, while the Galaxy stumbled at home against Real Salt Lake, looking tired and prone to mental gaffes by the end.