Three Points: LA Galaxy qualify for CCL quarterfinals with dominating road win over Cartaginés
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica— LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano’s Three Points to the team’s 3-0 CONCACAF Champions League victory over C.S. Cartaginés. With the win, the Galaxy qualified for the CCL quarterfinals as the winners of Group 8.
JACK MCBEAN STARS AS GALAXY DOMINATE FROM THE OPENING WHISTLE
Starting a reserve-laden lineup in Costa Rica, the LA Galaxy needed one of their young guns to shoulder the responsibility. Forward Jack McBean answered the call, leading the way in LA’s 3-0 victory.
McBean’s physicality as well his runs off the ball allowed him to wreak havoc on the Cartaginés defense. It didn’t take long for the 18-year-old to find the back of the net as he nodded in a Rafael Garcia cross just six minutes into the match. The goal allowed him to tie Robbie Keane for the most goals scored by a Galaxy player all-time in the competition. As the Galaxy added two more goals in the opening 30 minutes, McBean would have a hand in both finishes as he played a central role in the buildup to goals by Chandler Hoffman and Laurent Courtois.
The young forward’s job wasn’t done there, however, as once the second half began and Cartaginés looked to claw their way back in the game, McBean’s hold up play provided vital as the Galaxy killed off the game and clinched their spot in the quarterfinals.
GALAXY HOLD ON IN THE SECOND HALF
Up three goals, the LA Galaxy could have pressed for many more, but the team was more than content to see out the game and earn their third consecutive shutout in CONCACAF Champions League play.
Cartaginés dominated possession in the second half, but it meant little as the Galaxy’s efficient defensive play prevented them from adequately testing LA goalkeeper Brian Rowe. Time and time again, the Galaxy’s defenders were able to make timely interceptions or clearances in the final third that prevented the Costa Ricans from generating any truly threatening opportunities. It wasn’t until the 87th minute when Pablo Herrera’s shot was palmed away by Brian Rowe that the home side managed a shot on target from open play.
Where the Costa Ricans did have success was on set pieces as Panamanian referee John Pitti called several fouls on LA in Cartaginés’ final third that led to dangerous free kick chances. However, each time Rowe proved up to the task as he made two of his five saves on the night on such plays.
LA GALAXY CLINCH BERTH INTO THE QUARTERFINALS
Check off one of the LA Galaxy’s main objectives for 2013 off the list.
The Galaxy clinched a berth in the quarterfinals of the Champions League for the third consecutive year with the win, which assured them of the top spot in Group 8. The result, and the manner in which it was earned, will send the Galaxy into their final match of the group stage, in El Salvador against Isidro Metapán, on a high. One of three clubs who have won each of their first three games in the Champions League and the only one who are yet to concede a goal, LA are now positioned well to claim one of the top seeds heading into the quarterfinals.
With the Galaxy facing a tough 11-day stretch in October that will likely whether or not they will have an opportunity to win a third straight MLS Cup title, expect Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena to opt for a similar reserve-laden lineup in El Salvador.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com