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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