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Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Club Tijuana: A San Diego-Sized Measuring Stick

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IMarch 3, 2011

With the Los Angeles Galaxy set to begin their 2011 Major League Soccer campaign on March 15 against the Seattle Sounders at Qwest Field, Bruce Arena's men will be due for some fine tuning when they take on Club Tijuana tonight at Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego in San Diego, California.

"It's our first real preseason game," midfielder Landon Donovan said.

"We've played a lot of scrimmages but this is our first chance. We're two weeks out now so this is a big test."

While the Galaxy have played preseason matches against the Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes, Colorado Rapids and Vancouver Whitecaps, those were mere scrimmages.

This time, it's for real.

Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles De Caliente, managed by Joaquin del Olmo, are a team that plays in the Liga de Ascenso, the second division of Mexican football. Having won the 2010 Apertura, they are another league title or a victory over the 2011 Clausura champion away from promotion to the Primera Division de Mexico.

Currently in the 2011 Clausura, Tijuana are 2-5-1 (11 points) and are on track to make the Liguilla (playoffs).

"Any time you play against a Mexican team it's exciting, certainly a different style of play from MLS," Arena said on their opponents.

"This is a team that experienced a lot of success last year. It's good for us to have a gated game against good competition."

Donovan, forward Juan Pablo Angel and midfielder David Beckham will likely be in the starting lineup for the first time.

"It's my first time playing a game in San Diego so I'm excited about that," Beckham said.

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"I've been there once or twice before and it's a great city. It's nice to be playing a game there."

Beckham stressed the importance of a strong result against a side whose stadium, the Estadio Caliente, is just a few bus and train rides away from the heart of downtown San Diego.

“It's important, these games for us, as they're leading into the season,” Beckham said.

“It's important that we get our fitness and obviously get the team shape right.”

Tijuana don't have a lot of firepower to speak of, but their main trigger man is Raul Enriquez, who led the team in the Apertura with five goals and is the team leader in the Clausura with three goals.

Another contributor to Los Xolos is Luis Orozco, with four goals scored in the Apertura.

Prediction

It will be important that the Galaxy contain Enriquez's finishing ability; also shutting down Nestor Gerk and and Orozco will be key.

Expect a rusty, but solid initial outing at Torero Stadium for the G's.

Los Angeles Galaxy 2, Club Tijuana 1


Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. PT and can be heard online at lagalaxy.com.

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