Brazilian Samuel scores for Galaxy as they hang on to beat Club Tijuana
CARSON,CALIFORNIA (BDCi) — The LA Galaxy take a slime advantage to Mexico next week as they seek a semifinal berth in the CONCACAF Champions League for the second straight season.
Brazilian Samuel scored in the 11th minute, his first with his new team, and Jaime Penedo and Marcelo Sarvas made goal line stops as the LA Galaxy hung on for a 1-0 victory over Club Tijuana, Wednesday in the first leg of the quarterfinal series.
The Galaxy struck early, stringing together eight passes after Joe Corona stumbled over the ball at midfield and Sarvas snared the loose ball. Sarvas had the pivotal feed, chipping into the box from the right flank, and the ball ricocheted square off Robbie Keane’s midsection, slipping past Javier Gandolfi to leave Samuel a one-time finish from about 10 yards.
LA had the better play in the first half and created a decent chance just before halftime with Keane carrying the ball to the right byline and chipping onto the roof of the goal.
The Xolos came back aggressive in the second half and created several chances, most from set pieces. Penedo made two big stops on Hernan Pellerano’s header in the 52nd minute and ahead of Gandolfi in the 55th, both were flagged offsides. A minute later, Penedo tipped Christian Pellerano’s shot from distance over the crossbar,a save that counted.
The Panamanian goalkeeper made an even bigger save in the 61st minute. He mistimed his leap on a Benedetto cross from the right wing, redirecting it into the middle. The ball ricocheted off Omar Gonzalez’s foot, with an attacker on his back, and rolled slowly toward the net. Penedo scrambled back to his goal line and palmed the ball,shuttling it out of immediate danger.
Sarvas cleared a Gandolfi header off a corner kick in the 68th minute. Gomez nearly evened it for Tijuana in the 85th minute when his sharp diving header from Garza’s cross sailed wide of the left post and Penedo pushed a stoppage-time shot Benedetto past the right post.
A draw or a one goal win by the Xolos in which the Galaxy scores would send LA to a semifinal matchup against reigning MLS Cup Champion Sporting Kansas City or Cruz Azul. Sporting Kansas City won the first leg, 1-0, Wednesday in its quarterfinal series.
The Galaxy has this weekend of in MLS to prepare for the second game in this series. Club Tijuana plays Cruz Azul Saturday in Mexico City, then returns home to play the Galaxy on Tuesday.