LA Galaxy lose to Club Tijuana and are emliminated from CONCACAF
TIJUANA,MEXICO (BDCi) — The LA Galaxy lost command of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series less than a minute into Tuesday night’s second leg, were playing catchup after 10 minutes, and found themselves in a deep hole before the half-hour mark had passed.
Their hopes of a second straight trip to the CONCACAF semifinals and a potential FIFA Club World Cup assignment in December gone when they fell victim to three first-half goals as Club Tijuana rolled toward a 4-2 victory at Estadio Caliente.
Jaime Ayovi scored twice in the opening minutes, Dario Benedetto added another in the 26th minute and Richard Ruiz added a late insurance goal as Tijuana cruised into the region’s club final four with a 4-3 aggregate victory.
Robbie Keane scored twice in the second half, getting one at the beginning of the second to give LA hope, but the Galaxy could not score a second until after Ruiz’s 82nd minute goal that provided Tijuana the cushion it needed.
The Galaxy used the same lineup, with the same bench players as the first leg and MLS opener against Real Salt Lake.Tijuana made one change to its lineup from StubHub Center moving Benedetto up front and Fidel Martinez on the bench.
LA arrived with a 1-0 aggregate thanks to a Samuel goal in the 11th minute of Wednesday’s first leg at StubHub Center, but the Xolos erased that lead before fans could even get comfortable in their seats.
Ayovi tallied just 57 seconds into the match, an easy finish at the right post after the ball ricocheted around the Galaxy goal line. Ajovi started the sequence, running onto a ball on the right flank and crossing from behind the edge of the box. A.J. DeLaGarza blocked Joe Corona’s shot but it caromed behind him and Benedetto tumbled, James Riley appeared to trip him as he tried to shoot. The ball rolled Ayovi’s way and he found the net.
The Ecuadorian then hit the crossbar after a free kick into LA’s box deflected to him four minutes later and he finished a breakaway in the ninth minute, beating Jaime Penedo just above the box and firing into an empty net from Javier Guemez’s expert ball over the top.
Guemez hit the top of the crossbar from distance in the 22nd minute and Benedetto made it 3-0 four minutes after that,also on a breakaway. A Galaxy pass was broken up at midfield, with the ball caroming forward and as Leonardo tried to bring it down while facing his goal, Benedetto raced in, knocked it away, carried it into the box and slotted passed Penedo and inside the left post.
The Galaxy created just one first-half chance when Marcelo Sarvas forced a diving save from Cirilo Saucedo in the 39th minute. Robbie Keane struck after a 47th minute free kick to give the Galaxy life.
Head coach Bruce Arena made two halftime substitutions bringing on Rob Friend for Samuel up front and Todd Dunivant for RIley who struggled at left back against the Xolos’ right leaning formation.
LA didn’t create much after the Keane goal despite better play than in the first and Ruiz, a second half substitute, beat Penedo from the right side of the box when Benedetto nodded on a Christian Pellerano chip.
Keane scored again in the 85th minute,finishing from a Landon Donovan feed and the Galaxy pushed forward looking for a goal that would push them through. Five minutes of second-half stoppage time helped their cause, but they created nothing worrisome in the final 10 minutes.
Tijuana is the first team to claim a spot in the CONCACAF semifinals where they will face Sporting Kansas City or Liga MX rivals Cruz Azul. The reigning MLS Champions head into Wednesday’s second leg in Mexico City with a 1-0 aggregate advantage.
The Galaxy return to MLS action on Saturday night in Salt Lake City against Real Salt Lake, who beat them 1-0 in the MLS season opener on March 8.