CCL Recap: Galaxy make easy work of Puerto Rico
CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy's reserve team had enough firepower to beat the Puerto Rico Islanders this time, taking charge in Group 5 of the CONCACAF Champions League with a 4-0 victory Wednesday night at The Home Depot Center.
Tommy Meyer scored on a seventh-minute header, teen forwards Jose Villarreal and Jack McBean netted second-half goals, and Michael Stephens capped the romp with a strike as LA (2-0-0) opened a three-point lead on idle Salvadoran side Isidro Metapán in front of a capped capacity crowd of 7,500. The Islanders (0-2-0) will seek their first points in the Sept. 19 rematch in Bayamón.
Puerto Rico routed the Galaxy 4-1 at The HDC two years ago in a preliminary-round match, but it managed little offense this time against a Galaxy side featuring just one regular starter.
Postgame Interview: Tommy Meyer
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena fielded a reserve team, with Hector Jimenez the only regular starter in the lineup — at right back rather than in midfield — and David Beckham, Mike Magee, Marcelo Sarvas, Sean Franklin, A.J. DeLaGarza and Edson Buddle on the bench.
Buddle, who missed three months following meniscus surgery, came on in the 71st minute, his first appearance since late May. Franklin also came off the bench, stepping in when Villarreal was hurt as he scored his goal, and Sarvas put in eight minutes in relief of McBean.
DP forward Robbie Keane was suspended, captain Landon Donovan was held out with a hamstring injury, and midfielder Juninho, goalkeeper Josh Saunders and defenders Omar Gonzalez and Todd Dunivant were given the night off.
The Islanders were shut out for the fourth straight game — the other three coming in the second-tier North American Soccer League — and haven't hit the net in 399 minutes. They managed a couple of shots on target against a dominant LA, but never really threatened to beat Galaxy 'keeper Brian Perk.
The Galaxy opened the scoring early on. Just seven minutes in, Meyer, making just his second competitive appearance for LA since early May, rose above Puerto Rico's Osei Telesford to powerfully nod home Kenney Walker's corner kick for the lead.
LA doubled their advantage in the first minute of the second half. Jimenez sent a long ball from deep in Galaxy territory and McBean flicked it on for Villarreal, who beat Puerto Rico goalkeeper Richard Martin, avoided two defenders at the top of the box, and then finished from 18 yards. Villarreal landed hard on the attempt, required medical attention on the field, and was pulled from the game after that.
McBean would stretch LA's lead in the 80th minute, rocketing in the rebound after his initial shot from Stephens' cross was blocked by Martinez.
Stephens would finally cap the scoreline when he knocked in one of his own in the 82nd after a pass was redirected to him in the Islanders' box.
The Galaxy return to MLS action on Saturday night against the Vancouver Whitecaps at The Home Depot Center (10 pm ET/ 7pm PT, KDOC, KWHY, LIVE CHAT).