Three Points: LA Galaxy play it smart with a 1-0 victory over Club Tijuana in CONCACAF Champions League first leg
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano provides his Three Points to the Galaxy’s 1-0 victory over Club Tijuana in the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal first leg. LA will head to Tijuana for the second leg at Estadio Caliente next Tuesday.
SMASH AND GRAB FOR THE LA GALAXY
The LA Galaxy preached the need for an early goal and smart defense ahead of their first leg against Club Tijuana and they got both in their 1-0 victory over the Mexican side.
Just 11 minutes into the match, the Galaxy got the goal that they needed as Samuel was able to finish a chance from close range that began with Marcelo Sarvas firing a cross that deflected off Robbie Keane into the path of the Brazilian. But once the goal came, the Galaxy were able to successfully manage the game as they avoided pressing too high when they went forward while making timely clearances on the defensive end. This game management was most apparent during the late stages of the second half as LA found themselves on the back heel only to repeatedly preserve the lead with clutch defensive plays.
With both sides now looking toward the second leg at Estadio Caliente, the Galaxy can expect to be under considerable pressure again from a talented Xolos side eager to erase the deficit.
PENEDO SAVES THE GALAXY IN THE SECOND HALF
Goalkeeping heroics are nothing new from Jaime Penedo, but the Panamanian put on a clinic in the second half of the Galaxy’s 1-0 victory over Tijuana.
Seemingly the entirety of Penedo’s action came in the second half as the Xolos tried to claw back a 1-0 deficit, but despite repeated chances, the Galaxy goalkeeper withstood the pressure. His finest moment came in the 61st minute when an errant deflection off Omar Gonzalez rolled toward the Galaxy net, Penedo was able to rush back and slap the ball of the line to preserve the victory. The dramatics did not stop there, however, as he made a clutch save off a Tijuana shot from distance in stoppage time that sealed the victory for LA.
The Panamanian’s work is hardly over as he will almost certainly be called upon again in the all-important second leg at Estadio Caliente. Whether or not he can duplicate his heroics may determine if the Galaxy can advance to the CCL Semifinals for a second consecutive year.
WHAT LIES AHEAD?
The LA Galaxy may have gotten the victory in the first leg, but the work is far from done if the club wishes to continue their participation in the CONCACAF Champions League.
To advance from the quarterfinal stage, the Galaxy must earn a result at the Estadio Caliente, which has been a fortress for Tijuana in recent years with the club winning 18 of their last 19 league games at home. With the home crowd behind them, Tijuana will be looking to attack in waves and place considerable pressure on the Galaxy defense as they search for the elusive series equalizer. For LA to advance, the Galaxy must remain compact defensively and attempt to snatch a goal on the counter attack.
If the Galaxy’s defense can hold and if LA can capitalize on the scoring chances provided by Tijuana’s pressure, the club should be in good stead to advance to the CCL semifinals.