Archive | Concacaf Champions League

Keane carries Galaxy past Cartagines

Posted on 21 August 2013 by iyeo

The Los Angeles Galaxy’s opening match of the 2013-2014 CONCACAF Champions League tournament against Costa Rican side Cartagines turned to be a difficult start for the Galaxy.

LA did create numerous scoring chances throughout the match, but had to wait until the 66th minute to finally break through. Striker Robbie Keane was once again the catalyst for LA, as his two goals were more than enough for the Galaxy to begin group play with a 2-0 win over Cartagines.

“They (Cartagines) defended well, they defended with numbers for 90 minutes,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “The second goal is going to be big in this competition, so I’m real pleased with our team, they played a complete game for 90 minutes tonight.”

After numerous scoring chances went begging, LA finally broke through in the 66th minute, as Landon Donovan sprung Keane with a through ball into the penalty area. Keane then shot a ball that was initially saved by keeper Wardy Alfaro, but not enough to prevent the ball from continuing forward and eventually crossing the goal line. Keane sealed the win in stoppage time, as Donovan again sent him forward and Keane fire a shot past Alfaro for his second of the game.

“We’re in tune with each other,” Keane said of his partnership with Donovan. “We know each other’s runs and where we’re going to be.”

The Galaxy were aggressive for most of the match, though that first goal turned out to be elusive. Keane had LA’s best chance in the first half, as Michael Stephens played a ball into the Cartagines box towards Keane. Keane chested the ball down, took a quick touched and blasted a ball only to see the ball fly over the framework. The Galaxy almost broke through in the 61st minute, as Center Back Omar Gonzalez headed a corner kick towards an open goal, but was cleared at the line by defender Esteban Sirias.

“The Galaxy had a lot of ball possession and opportunity,” Cartagines head coach Javier Delgado said. “We didn’t have enough on the field today. We started to have control in the midfield and defense, but one mistake cost us.”

Not many changes were made to the Galaxy lineup despite playing just two days after defeating Real Salt Lake back on Saturday. Midfielder Robbie Rogers made his return to the starting lineup after not featuring in the 18 the last two matches, though his evening was cut short with what Arena described as a “hamstring strain.” Center Back Kofi Opare was given the start alongside Omar Gonzalez and performed fairly well.

“He had a very good game,” Arena said of Opare’s performance. “Not an easy game for a young player. He did an excellent job and he’s looked real good for us in training and reserve games. He’s a player we think has a lot of potential.”

The Galaxy next jump back into MLS play, as they travel to the northwest to face the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.

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Galaxy let Lead slip away late vs. Monterrey

Posted on 04 April 2013 by iyeo

It was all in hand for the Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday night,

Hosting Mexico’s C.F. Monterrey in the first leg of its semifinal matchup of the CONCACAF Champions League Tournament, LA got a first half strike from AJ DeLaGarza and took the lead well into the second half. A one-goal lead going into next week’s second leg in Monterrey seemed to be well in hand for the Galaxy.

Monterrey however displayed the fortitude that had enabled them to win this tournament the last two years inside the final 10 minutes, as goals from Humberto Suazo and Aldo De Nigris propelled them to a comeback 2-1 win at the Home Depot Center on Wednesday night and thus makes LA’s situation a whole lot tougher going into the second leg.

“We actually played a very good game tonight,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “A little more experience and a little more quality and we win this game by a couple of goals. Credit to Monterrey for their quality and playing the full 90 minutes.

LA grabbed the lead in the 28th minute when striker Jose Villarreal sprinted into the 18-yard box, then played a ball to fellow striker Robbie Keane. Keane then floated a ball into the six-yard box towards midfielder Mike Magee, whose header then went to AJ DeLaGarza and the Right Back flicked a ball off his back-heel past keeper Juan de Dios Ibarra into the back net.

LA took the lead deep into the second half, but just when it looked like Los Angeles would take an all-important one-goal lead into Monterrey next week, the visitors erupted. Monterrey pushed across the equalizer in the 82nd minute, as De Nigris headed a ball towards goal, it was denied by keeper Carlo Cudicini, but the ball went to the feet of Suzao, who immediately shot for goat. Suazo shanked a first attempt, but the ball stayed at his feet and the striker did not miss a second time, sending the ball past Cudicini to even the score.

“We were tired and they (Monterrey) were pushing numbers forward,” DeLaGarza said. “They were getting after it, they knew they had to get a goal back, and all that wore us out.”

Monterrey wasn’t done yet, and pushed ahead just as stoppage time loomed, as Luis Guillermo Madrigal sent a ball into the penalty area, De Nigris brought the ball down, then sent a shot past Cudicini into the back net for the go-ahead goal.

“You just have to be able to find the right time to turn it around on the field,” Monterrey head coach Victor Manuel Vucetich said of Monterrey’s comeback. “It’s not like you concentrate all your efforts on one part of the actual match, you have to play the full 90 minutes to win the match.”

The Galaxy played well in the first half, getting its first chance in the 18th minute, as Magee bended a ball towards goal, but was parried away by Ibarra. LA had chances to add to its lead, the first coming in the second half as Keane laid a ball just outside the six for midfielder Sean Franklin, but could not convert the point-blank chance. LA had another chance to make it a two-goal game in the 67th minute when Magee took a Michael Stephens thrown-in, sprinted for the penalty area and laid a ball for an unmarked Keane, but Ibarra just managed to parry away Keane’s shot.

The momentum though began to swing towards Monterrey, starting in the 61st minute when midfielder Juninho had to leave the match after a hard collision resulted in an injured ankle, not that Monterrey wasn’t already pressing before then. Monterrey was almost gifted a goal in the 52nd minute, as Suazo pounced on a giveaway and broke for goal. Suazo fired away, but was turned back by Cudicini. De Nigris also had a chance at goal, his coming in the 75th minute, but his header just missed the back post.

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Galaxy Advance to CCL Semifinal Round

Posted on 14 March 2013 by iyeo

Six days after holding their own in the first leg in Costa Rica, the Los Angeles Galaxy dictated the pace of the game on their home turf in the return leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Tournament against C.S. Herediano.

One first half strike was followed by three more in the second half while the defense contained the Herediano attack for the most part and Los Angeles became just the third MLS team to reach the semifinals of the CCL tournament with a 4-1 win.

Omar Gonzalez, Jose Villareal, Robbie Keane and Jack McBean were the goal scorers for the Galaxy, whose win sets up a semifinal date against Mexico’s C.F. Monterrey, who defeated Guatemalan Club Club Xelaju 4-2 on aggregate. The two-leg series will be played the first two weeks of April. The Galaxy and Seattle Sounders will be the two teams carrying the MLS Flag in the CONCACAF Champions League Tournament.

“It was a hard game,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “Good concentration and focus, the second half, we got a little bit better, Jose scored a great goal, Robbie scored a great goal (and) we were just a little bit sharper around the penalty area.”

The Galaxy dodged a bullet early in the first half when Herediano won a free kick at the right side of the Galaxy penalty area in the eighth minute. Ismael Gomez ‘s set piece was on target, but Galaxy keeper Carlo Cudicini parried the ball over the endline and the Galaxy successfully defended the ensuing corner. Los Angeles eventually got on the board first in the 18th, as Gonzalez header off a Juninho corner deflected off Herediano’s Marvin Obando and made its way across the goal line.

“The first goal was huge and coming into halftime, we knew we needed to get a second and we did that and gave ourselves a bit of a cushion,” Galaxy Left Back Todd Dunivant said.

The second goal Dunivant was referring to came from Villareal courtesy of a spectacular volley in the 69th minute. Villareal received a ball from Sean Franklin, spun around Center Back Esteban Granados, then fired a volley off his left foot from about 30 yards out that sailed past keeper Daniel Cambronero into the back net.

“I was going to try to go through him, but I didn’t have much in my legs, so I cut it back, set up with my left foot and I had to shoot,” Villareal said of his goal.

Keane made it a three-goal lead when he chased down a perfectly weighted ball from Michael Stephens into the penalty area, tight-roped the endline and fired low past Cambronero and beat him back post. Herediano did prevent the shutout in the 85th minute with a goal from Elias Aguilar, but the Galaxy got the goal back in stoppage time as substitute Jack McBean fired a volley in the box that beat Cambronero far post.

The Galaxy jump back into MLS play on Sunday afternoon with a home match against in-stadium rival Chivas USA.

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Reserves show their Value for Galaxy in CCL match

Posted on 30 August 2012 by iyeo

Having won a hard fought match on Sunday against FC Dallas and with another big match against the Vancouver Whitecaps looming on Saturday, Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena sent out the reserves for Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League matchup against the Puerto Rico Islanders.

The move paid off, as goals from four different players enabled the Galaxy to collect three points in its final home match of the competition and thus sit in first place in the group courtesy of a 4-0 win over the Islanders at the Home Depot Center.

We chose a lineup we thought could win the game,” Arena said. “I thought they played really well, I was real pleased with our young players who got the opportunity to play.”

The Galaxy struck seven minutes in, as Jack McBean earned LA a corner, Kenney Walker sent the corner into the box and Tommy Meyer headed the ball past Islanders keeper Richard Martin at the far post area to open the Galaxy’s scoring account. LA blew the game open in the second half, starting just a minute into the half, as Jose Villareal chased down a ball headed forward by McBean, drawing out Martin as well as defenders Richard Martinez and Anthony Vasquez. Villareal beat all three of them to the ball and shot a soft left-footer that made its way across the goal line. Villareal paid a price for the goal however, as he was kneed in the head by Martinez and laid on the ground for a few minutes. Villareal eventually collected himself, though he was subbed out for Sean Franklin in the 52nd minute.

“I thought Jose and myself played very well tonight,” McBean said. “We worked really hard in the first half and held our own.”

The Galaxy put the game away in the 80th and 82nd minutes. Goal number three came when Michael Stephens crossed a ball into the box, McBean volley a shot first touch, but was blocked by Martinez, but the ball went back to McBean and his rebound attempt beat Martin to the upper netting. Stephens finished off the scoring for LA two minutes later when he pounced on a poor clearance in the box and his point-blank attempt beat Martin left post to finish off the night for the Galaxy.

“We’ve been playing together the whole year throughout the reserve league and we’ve done well,” Stephens said. “That’s the reason we got the opportunity tonight and we did well.”

The Galaxy jump back into MLS play on Saturday, starting with its match against Vancouver, who are currently just three points back of LA for fourth place in the Western Conference standings

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Galaxy open up CCL play with a win

Posted on 24 August 2012 by iyeo

The Los Angeles Galaxy’s opening match of the 2012-2013 CONCACAF Champions League tournament had just about everything one could ask for.

The Galaxy got goals from its star players, but had to weather some questionable officiating late in the second half which featured a red card to Robbie Keane and a yellow card right in the midst of a substitution. Yet despite all that, as well as the absence of Landon Donovan, the Galaxy tallied five goals, two of them by Juninho, and rode it to a 5-2 win over Isidro Metapan at the Home Depot Center.

“A lot of emotions, but we’re just happy to get the win,” Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee said. “No injuries and it was an extremely frustrating game to play in under obvious circumstances, but we’re just happy we won.”

Despite a flurry of chances by the Galaxy in the opening frame, it was Metapan struck first in the 17th minute when Nicolas Munoz buried a rebound shot past Galaxy keeper Josh Saunders for the game’s first goal. It didn’t take the Galaxy long to respond, getting the equalizer in the 20th minute when David Beckham’s cross deflected off a Metapan defender, went high in the air and crossed the goal line. Beckham then supplied the go-ahead goal in the 22nd minute when his cross found Robbie Keane in the penalty box and Keane slid the shot past Metapan keeper Fidel Mondragon. Beckham found the net himself right before halftime, as his corner was cut off by Mondragon, but crossed the goal line to give LA a two-goal cushion going into halftime.

“Its hard, we definitely have to get a lot of points in this tournament,” Juninho said. “We got off to a slow start, but we were able to turn it around.”

The Galaxy maintained its lead throughout the second half even as referee Alfredo Penaloza inserted himself into the match, beginning in the 71st minute when Robbie Keane was tripped by two Metapan players while attempting to charge into the penalty area. Penaloza however whistled Keane for diving, Keane appeared to protest the call and Penaloza abruptly ended Keane’s night, sending him off with a red card.

“He started bad and he finished bad,” Juninho said in regard to the officiating.

The madness continued in the 80th minute when Michael Stephens replaced Beckham in the 80th minute, and was surprisingly greeted a yellow card. Despite all that, the Galaxy ultimately put the game away with two goals from Juninho, the first in the 82nd minute and the second coming well into stoppage time. Sandwiched in between those goals was a penalty kick goal by Nicolas Munoz in the 88th minute.

“I was in a good position on the field,” Juninho said of his goals. “Because of my position on the field, I was able to go out front and be in good spots to score the goal.”

The Galaxy will jump back into MLS play on Sunday, as they face FC Dallas in a crucial Western Conference matchup.

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Andy Rose Lifts Sounders Over Caledonia

Posted on 03 August 2012 by Kyle Alm

Caledonia AIA came to Seattle for their first CONCACAF Champions League match in their history. If they were expecting a large crowd of cheering supporters that Seattle has become known for they were in for a surprise. Less than 8,000 fans showed up in Seattle to watch Seattle Sounders FC start a new CCL campaign.

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For the first 10 minutes Caledonia were able to use their speed to get up the wings to create a couple of shots and win a corner kick in the 6th minute that seemed to indicate a strategy against Sounders which they intended to use on set pieces for scoring opportunities. Brad Evans, playing at right back for Zach Scott, seemed to have some difficulty defending his wing during this time span & made a bad decision that turned into a chance for Caledonia that they were unable to capitalize on. Caledonia had the best of their chances early, they would only earn 2 corner kicks, 4 shots on goal the entire match.

Sounders were able to capitalize on their own speedy Trinidadian, Cordell Cato, who used his pace to great effect with service from Brad Evans and Andy Rose in particular. Rose was prolific, had two assists, poached a goal from his own teammate, Sammy “the goal poacher” Ochoa off of a Fredy Montero shot.

Sounders lead 3-0 at halftime, Servando Carrasco replaced Osvaldo Alonso in center midfield, and did so competently. Sounders Caledonia came out of the locker room strong for the first ten minutes but they were unable to sustain any kind of attack beyond that. Caledonia were able to get a goal back on a penalty kick awarded on a Jhon Kennedy Hurtado foul in 50th minute.

Fredy Montero chose the 56th minute to retaliate with a stupefying, and rather obvious, dive in the box in a completely unnecessary ploy for a penalty kick. The Colombian was shown yellow for simulation. Not only is it disgraceful, it’s also poor gamesmanship, first match in group play, up two goals, not a smart move.

The match would end 3-1. Caledonia did not seem ready to compete for 90 minutes in Seattle. They had spent almost an entire day travelling from Trinidad, and their brief outburst of productivity at the beginning of both halves would seem to back this up.

Their coach, Jerry Moe, seemed somewhat satisfied by how much his side had to overcome and eager to have a match that didn’t require a day’s travel. Coach Schmid was satisfied with the result and getting to rest Osvaldo Alonso for the second half in advance of the LA Galaxy coming to Seatttle. Schmid did express that they could have scored more goals, but that the 3 points in the group was what was most important.

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TFC Heads to the CCL Semi-Final!

Posted on 15 March 2012 by Mahmoud Shoblaq

Following the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final tie, Toronto FC headed into LA with a big task after getting a 2-2 result at home! Having to overcome the 2 away goal deficit or simply winning the match was never going to be easy.

With a slow start to the match Ryan Johnson took advantage of a great chance to give TFC the 1-0 lead in the first half. The second half on the other hand had a different feel, where LA realized they had to rise up to the occasion and started putting plenty of pressure on TFC  leading to an own goal by Harden. TFC was resilient with Ryan Johnson continuing to put his stamp on the game and setting up Nick Soolsma for Toronto’s second goal and the game winner!

 

Toronto FC’s game flaw consisted of their high back-line that they were lucky not to have LA penetrate. A non fatigued Galaxy side would have punished this Toronto formation. On the other hand, TFC’s defense dealt well with the crosses into the box in this match in comparison to the home tie, with Kocic playing a major role in controlling his box and keeping the ball out of his net.

Man of the Match: Milos Kocic

All in all, a decent Toronto FC performance versus a softer LA Galaxy led to this result. The next round in the semi-finals versus Santos Laguna will be a difficult task especially in the away leg!

 

Toronto FC will now remain on the road and face Seattle on Saturday before returning home for their MLS home opener which leads into the first leg of their CCL semi-finals.

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Sounders Roll Over Santos Laguna, Head To Mexico Up 2-1

Posted on 08 March 2012 by Kyle Alm

In what had been hailed as the biggest match in club history, Sounders donned their Super Cyan jerseys and met Santos Laguna for the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals in Seattle.

Sounders fielded the usual suspects  in their staring eleven, with David Estrada filling in Eddie Johnson as Fredy Montero’s strike partner.

Both sides were able to scamper back and forth in the first five minutes, neither side able to muster a shot on goal except for a Rosales strike that went directly at the goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez.

In the 11th minute Fredy Montero crossed a ball into space near the back post for a streaking David Estrada who put his diving header past Sanchez for the opening goal, second assist to Leo Gonzalez. Shortly afterward, Adam Johansson got into the attacking third on an overlapping run to cross for Montero, but the Colombian was unable to collect his balance for a header and the ball deflected off of his shoulder.

19′ Heculez Gomez gets a ball and the top left of the box and tests Gspurning who was unable to gather the ball, but Johansson was closest and able to clear the ball out of bounds for a corner.

Alvaro Fernandez had the play of the night that was nearly a spectacular goal a little give and go with Rosales on the left side. Alvaro got a ball parallel to the top of the box, gave a little dummy like he was going to break for the endline before letting the ball continue to roll setting him up for a curling right footer than went just over the bar.

45′ Juan Pablo Rodriguez tried to flick a header passed Gspurning that landed on top of the goal roof just before the half expired.

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Santos were clearly frustrated by the clever off the ball movement by Sounders, the elbow to Fernandez’s face is probably out of that frustration. Santos did not create an easy goal scoring opportunity. Their balls into the box were searching and hopeful. There were no substitutions for either side at the half.

Santos had a much more positive play than they did in the first half. After having difficulty creating space they were able to open up a few holes in Sounders defense and keep some possession.

52′ long ball to the corner from Rosales finds Estrada, Sanchez coming out to get the ball, crosses into the middle and finds no one.

58′ Leo Gonzalez is cautioned for tripping a player after he had been tripped.

Santos Laguna drew level in the 60′ when Marc Crosas crossed from top left of the box and found Herculez Gomez at the near post who finished his goal to the far post past a diving Gspurning.

Less than a minute after the restart Mauro Rosales crossed a set piece in to Brad Evans who managed to guide the ball home with the back of his head. Evans, not known for his scoring prowess and oft-maligned, had an understated, but competent, performance before scoring what would become the winning goal.

Hurtado was stretchered off late in the match but was able to reenter the match.

There appeared to be several altercations between Santos & Sounders players during the first leg in Seattle. It was consistent throughout the match. It is clear that winning this series and advancing to the semis is of the utmost importance to both clubs. Being down a goal and heading home is not a horrible position to be in.

After the match Sigi Schmid revealed that four starting players, Gspurning, Montero, Alonso, & Kennedy, were stuck in traffic due to a rollover accident in the Mount Baker tunnel on I-90. It wasn’t until 6:30 when all of the players were finally at the ground. Hopefully no one was seriously injured in the accident.

23,433 in attendance tonight.

 

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