LA Galaxy defender James Riley reflects on his victory in Mexico with Seattle Sounders FC

15 March 12:52 pm

LA Galaxy defender James Riley reflects on his victory in Mexico with Seattle Sounders FC

By Adam Serrano

CARSON, Calif. -- MLS teams have struggled mightly in Mexico witha  2-26-5 record all-time, but when the LA Galaxy takes the field on Tuesday evening at Estadio Caliente in their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg match, they'll have a player on their team who has tasted CCL victory south of the border. 

LA Galaxy left back James Riley was in the Seattle Sounders FC starting XI on August 23, 2011 when Seattle gave MLS their second ever victory in Mexico with a 1-0 victory over C.F. Monterrey in CONCACAF CCL group stage. Riley's play was instrumental on the game-winning sequence as he helped force a turnover that resulted in a Sounders counter attack that ended when current Galaxy assistant coach Pat Noonan fed Alvaro Fernandez who fired a blistering shot past Monterrey goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco. Seattle's feat came just a week after FC Dallas defeated a reserve-laden Pumas UNAM to become the first team to win in Mexico, but has not been repeated since.

"We put an experienced bunch out and came in with a gameplan that said that we wanted to catch them on the break or a set piece. We got guys behind the ball and, to be honest, there was some fortune on our side. Our goalkeeper [Terry Boss] played huge, some guys made some critical plays and we were able to hold on for the victory."

Although the stakes for Tuesday's quarterfinal are considerably higher than they were when Seattle knocked off Los Rayados, Riley believes that there are lessons to take from the Sounders' victory. 

"We think that Tijuana will come with the same high tempo and try to force the issue early on, which we can expect," said Riley. "We'll simply need to be ready." 

Highlights of Seattle's game-winning goal are below. Riley can be seen at the outset forcing a Monterrey attacker to pass the ball away from the end line, which leads to the decisive turnover .