Samuel pleased with his "poacher's goal" that seals victory over Club Tijuana in CCL Quarterfinal first leg
CARSON, Calif. - New Brazilian forward Samuel was brought to the LA Galaxy to finish the chances that the team often squandered in 2013 and on Wednesday against Club Tijuana, he did just that.
Samuel tallied the game-winner in the 11th minute off a sequence that began when Marcelo Sarvas launched a cross that bounced off Robbie Keane to the path of the Brazilian for the easy finish that sealed LA's 1-0 victory in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg. The goal wasn't the only high point for the Brazilian who provided a physical presence up top during his 70 minute shift.
"We played against a very difficult team so it was very important for me to score," said Samuel after the match. "I saw it come off Keane's knee and I was right there ready to score. ... Of course, I was expecting that ball to bounce to me. With a player like Robbie Keane, you have to expect everything so I was ready for the play."
Added Landon Donovan, "It was a good poacher's goal. He does that in training, he is always around the goal. It was good for him, an important goal, and he did very well tonight."
But one question remains: did Keane intend for that deflection to bounce in the path of the waiting Brazilian?
"Of course, you know me," asserted a chuckling Keane postgame.
Jaime Penedo and Omar Gonzalez recall the goalkeeper's impressive goal line clearance against Tijuana
CARSON, Calif. -- It was a moment that nearly lived in infamy for the LA Galaxy.
In the 61st minute with the Galaxy up 1-0 on Club Tijuana, goalkeeper Jaime Penedo made a palm stop of a Tijuana clearance that deflected off defender Omar Gonzalez and began to roll toward the goal line. But before the ball could roll over the goal line, Penedo tracked back enough to slap the ball away and preserve what was ultimately a 1-0 victory for LA.
"I was frozen. I caught the ball out of the corner of my eye because I didn't expect Jaime to drop it. I was already turning so I just stuck my leg out and I didn't know what was going on," Gonzalez recalled. "Jaime did an amazing job to dive and put it all out there."
Gonzalez wasn't the only player stunned by the play as Penedo admitted after the match that the entire sequence took place in "slow motion."
" I remember seeing Omar's face, it was pretty comical. I have to admit that when I stop the ball, I can't calculate how it'll bounce. It was just a quick reaction," said Penedo. "The ball was just touching the line."
The goal line clearance wasn't the only highlight for Penedo who enjoyed a strong second half that included two saves to keep the result heading into the all-important second leg.
"Jaime was great tonight," said Gonzalez. "He let them know that you're not getting in my net. I think that we're going to need an even better game from him next week, if that's even possible."
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena's thoughts following the team's 1-0 victory over Club Tijuana.
(On the 1-0 victory...)
ARENA: "It was a good win for our team against a good opponent, it was a difficult game but I am please we came out with a win. Obviously going to Tijuana next week is going to be a difficult match, but I am pleased with the position we are in. Tonight was a pretty even game, we had a couple chances at the end of the first half, and didn't get it, and then Tijuana pushed us real hard in the second half and it was a great result for our team to get a clean sheet tonight. We played well defensively."
(On the play of Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo who made two saves on the night...)
ARENA: "Jaime had a good night, a couple good saves, maybe a couple weren't because they put the flag up, but Jaime did well, he is getting back into form. Jaime is coming into the prime of his career, we think he is going to get better, I like to believe goalkeeper is a position that is strong for us now."
(On what to expect playing in Tijuana next week in the second leg...)
ARENA: "It will be difficult. Obviously, another goal would have benefited our team, but it's still nice going there with an advantage. Not giving up an away goal is important and we are well aware of the fact that Tuesday will be a difficult game. We will be ready.
(On the play of Galaxy forward Samuel who scored the lone goal of the night...)
ARENA: "He has done well, he really has. I could have kept him in longer tonight, but I felt that we needed to get some fresh legs in the midfield, and push Landon up top, but Samuel has done very well. He has adjusted well, and is very opportunistic around the goal, we've seen it in the preseason, and tonight a similar type of goal. He's got a good nose for the goal and he is just going to get better as he begins to understand our team and our league a little bit better."
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy take on Club Tijuana in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg on Wednesday at StubHub Center.
Check out my look ahead to the match below.
*In the Galaxy's last pair of two-leg series, LA have struggled, but they're hoping to learn from the lessons of Monterrey and Real Salt Lake when they play Tijuana.
*Robbie Keane admits that Tijuana's inability showcases a "weakness" that the Galaxy will be looking to exploit on Wednesday.
*LAGalaxy.com's Larry Morgan provides his preview of the match.
*Lastly, check out my video round-up of all of the LAvTJ video content produced by LAGalaxy.com.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Juninho vs. Cristian Pellerano
A battle of attacking defensive midfielders, the two players will be looking to set the tempo for their respective teams early on.
Gyasi Zardes vs. Edgar Castillo
Speed vs. Speed. The hyperactive left back will look to push forward into the attack for Tijuana, but look for Zardes to attempt to take advantage of the space left by his agression to help the Galaxy.
Herculez Gomez vs. Omar Gonzalez
Whether Gomez will starts remains to be seen, but if he does, the Galaxy center back will have his hands full with the dangerous attacker. Expect the battle on the field to be as heated as their war of words.
PREDICTED LINEUP: Penedo; DeLaGarza, Gonzalez, Leonardo, Riley; Zardes, Juninho, Sarvas, Donovan; Keane, Samuel
Banter between MLS teams usually produces hilarious results, but this offering from an exchange between the LA Galaxy Twitter account and Sporting Kansas City's twitter may take the cake.
Check it out.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) March 12, 2014
In the final installment of our LA Galaxy vs. Club Tijuana video series, I take a look at the three most interesting pieces of content that were produced on LAGalaxy.com in the lead up to Wednesday's match.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena and forward Landon Donovan spoke to reporters in a press conference at StubHub Center on Tuesday ahead of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Club Tijuana.
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy came into the 2014 campaign eager to learn from the failures of a year ago, and they’ll get their first opportunity to right the wrongs of 2013 when they kick off their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against Club Tijuana on Wednesday.
The two biggest letdowns of 2013 saw the LA Galaxy falter in two-leg series falling to C.F. Monterrey in the CCL Semifinals and Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Semifinals. Despite being played months apart, both series featured similar problems for the Galaxy as the team was unable to convert a number of scoring opportunities in the home leg before crashing out away from StubHub Center.
To correct these issues, the Galaxy invested heavily in experienced players during the offseason in hopes of turning the club’s fortunes around. A strategy that the team is hoping will pay off come Wednesday evening against Club Tijuana.
“We have to learn our lessons from previous games,” said defender Todd Dunivant, who is expecting to be available for Wednesday’s match after dealing with a nagging injury. “When you talk about previous games, you look at the Monterrey home leg, where we were dominating that game for 80 minutes and feeling confident that we could get another goal or another two goals but we lost our shape and when you do that against good teams it’s going to hurt you. We have to be smart.
“This year, this team has brought in more experienced players with guys like Rob Friend, Stefan Ishizaki that have been in big games and won championships in other countries,” Dunivant added. “There’s definitely a different mood around our clubhouse.”
And the first lesson that the Galaxy must learn? Finish their chances at home.
“In both of those games, we played very well, but we didn't finish our chances and it gets magnified in these series,” said Landon Donovan. “In a series like this, every goal is important. In both of those games, we played well at home, but we couldn’t finish our chances. We just have to be better in front of goal. It’s as simple as that.”
The LA Galaxy are looking ahead to their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against Club Tijuana and in the lead up to Tuesday's match, CONCACAF.com spoke to several members of the club on the upcoming tournament.
The video includes a few interesting and dramatic shots of StubHub Center as well as informative interviews so check it out below.