CCL Recap: LA top Alajuelense, strengthen hold on group
CARSON, Calif. — Omar Gonzalez buried a first-half header and Chad Barrett added an insurance goal with less than a quarter-hour remaining as the LA Galaxy silenced Costa Rican champions Alajuelense by 2-0 at The Home Depot Center on Thursday.
WATCH: Full Match Highlights
The Galaxy's win strengthened their hold on Group A. Morelia beat Motagua at home handily to give LA a three-point edge over both Morelia and Alajuelense, while the Honduran side sits at the bottom with no points from two games. The Galaxy's next CCL date is at Morelia on Sept. 13, and a victory there would give the Galaxy a firm grasp on the group.
The Galaxy found out several hours before kickoff that their match scheduled for Sunday in New York had been postponed to Oct. 4, which meant the club would not have concerns over fatigue or trying to save players’ legs for the marquee league match.
Robbie Keane made his second consecutive start for the Galaxy and had several chances but was unable to make an impact on the match the way he did on Saturday, when he scored in a 2-0 win over San Jose.
Still, he came close early on when Landon Donovan nearly picked him out on the far post but Costa Rica’s Geancarlo Gonzalez cleared the ball just before Keane could get to it.
WATCH: Omar Gonzalez Postgame Reaction
David Beckham, who earlier had picked up a yellow card after delaying a restart, accounted for the first goal. The star midfielder swung a corner kick to the front of the net and Omar Gonzalez, at least a head taller than most of his Costa Rican counterparts, buried a header into the back of the net to give LA the 1-0 lead.
In the second half, Alajuelense put some pressure on the Galaxy goal and even put a ball past Galaxy ‘keeper Josh Saunders. However, LA got off the hook as the goal was nullified due to offside.
In the 77th minute, the Galaxy got the insurance goal they needed. Beckham started the play off with a pass to Sean Franklin on the right side of the field. Franklin slipped a ball to the front of the goal and Barrett ran onto it and easily buried it into the back of the net.
For Barrett, it was his first appearance since July 4 and his fifth goal in all competitions.
The only blemish for the Galaxy came late in the match, when midfielder Juninho was sent off in the 88th minute after throwing an elbow at Alajuelense’s Christopher Meneses. The card means Juninho will miss the Galaxy’s match at Morelia.
PHOTOS: LA Galaxy vs LD Alajuelense