CCL Preview: RSL looks to book knockout round spot; Galaxy fight for high seed; and more

CCL Preview: RSL looks to book knockout round spot; Galaxy fight for high seed; and more

CONCACAF Champions League

CCL Preview: RSL looks to book knockout round spot; Galaxy fight for high seed; and more

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Photo by Russ Isabella/USA TODAY Sports

Before the MLS regular season comes to a close, three of the league’s teams will take the field to wrap up the CONCACAF Champions League group stages.

Real Salt Lake enters the final round of games with the most at stake as the club can lock up a knockout round berth against Guatemala’s CSD Municipal in Tuesday’s clash at Rio Tinto Stadium.

The LA Galaxy, meanwhile, have secured advancement to the next stage of the tournament, but the team will have a chance to better its seeding going forward with a result in Guatemala against Comunicaciones.

Finally, the Vancouver Whitecaps have already been eliminated from CCL play, but the Western Conference powerhouse will still need to wrap up the group stages with a trip to Honduras to take on Olimpia.

Here’s a closer look at all of this week’s CCL action:

REAL SALT LAKE vs. CSD MUNICIPAL (Tuesday, 10 p.m., Fox Sports 2)

Now eliminated from the MLS Cup playoffs, Tuesday’s CONCACAF Champions League clash will allow Real Salt Lake to salvage something from 2015.

RSL hosts Guatemala’s CSD Municipal Tuesday with the knowledge that either a win or a draw will push the MLS side into the knockout round. RSL previously topped Municipal, 1-0, in the away leg.

Despite the shift in focus to CCL play, RSL will likely be slightly tired following their pursuit of an MLS playoff berth. Stars Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales and Juan Manuel “Burrito” Martinez each played 90 minutes against FC Dallas on Sunday, making their status up in the air ahead of Tuesday’s action.

Still, the Municipal clash represents RSL’s last meaningful game of 2015, so expect the team’s best to at least play some part in the action. If recent history is anything to go by, RSL will need all hands on deck as the team has been held scoreless in two straight.

CSD COMUNICACIONES vs. LA GALAXY (Wednesday, 10 p.m., Fox Soccer Plus)

The LA Galaxy are already through to the knockout stages, but Wednesday’s group stage finale still has plenty on the line.

After stomping their way through Group D, the Galaxy are now battling for knockout round seeding Wednesday against CSD Comunicaciones. The Galaxy clinched the group after just three games and would likely finish as the No. 2 seed with a win Wednesday.

Going forward, seeding will prove vital as the Galaxy look to avoid Liga MX opposition for as long as possible.

It’s now up to the Galaxy to priorotize ahead of the final week of league play. Facing off with Sporting KC on Sunday, the Galaxy will look to solidify a first-round bye in MLS play. That fact could lead Bruce Arena to field a more reserve-heavy lineup as the team travels south to Guatemala.

OLIMPIA vs. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (Thursday, 10 p.m.)

The Vancouver Whitecaps have no chance of reaching the knockout stages, but the club must still travel to Honduras to conclude group stage play.

Already eliminated, the Whitecaps are set to finish behind the Seattle Sounders in Group F play no matter the result Thursday against Olimpia.

With the MLS playoffs on the horizon, the Whitecaps will bring a small group of players to Honduras for Thursday’s clash, with head coach Carl Robinson reportedly taking just 12 or 13 players for the upcoming game.

The Whitecaps’ main focus remains on MLS play, where the team will take on the Houston Dynamo Sunday in pursuit of a first-round bye in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

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