AC St. Louis kept their wits about them, as well as their defensive posture, for more than an hour in their U.S. Open Cup matchup against Los Angeles on Tuesday, but the Galaxy proved too tough for the visiting USSF D-2 side and powered to a 2-0 win at Home Depot Center.
Chris Klein and Juninho scored 11 minutes apart in the second half to lead the Galaxy to victory.
St. Louis, who came in with a 2-7-2 record in league play, had won both of their previous Open Cup matches and were riding a modest four-match unbeaten streak in all competitions. The club had recently fired manager Claude Anelka, brother of France and Chelsea forward Nicolas Anelka, and were trying for what would have been a monumental upset.
The Galaxy struggled to break through St. Louis’ well-positioned backline. Clad in a yellow-and-green kit that resembled Australia’s national team jerseys, St. Louis limited the Galaxy to one shot on goal in the first half. Alan Gordon had the Galaxy’s best chance of the first 45 minutes when he pushed a header just wide of the goal.
St. Louis rarely threatened, however. Early on, the club tested Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders from long range, but after that the Galaxy began to wear down the visitors’ defense.
In the second half, the Galaxy continued to move the ball around with ease, but poor touches inside the area kept the club from putting any pressure on St. Louis goalkeeper Alec Dufty. It wasn’t until the 69th minute when the Galaxy finally broke through.
Klein received the ball on the right edge of the penalty area and lifted a shot over Dufty that settled into the left corner of the net. The goal was Klein’s first of the year and helped the Galaxy relax.
Juninho, who replaced Clint Mathis moments after the goal, ripped a 20-yard shot into the back of the net in the 80th minute for his first goal in a Galaxy uniform.
Down a pair of goals, St. Louis was unable to mount any sort of pressure on the Galaxy.
The win advances the Galaxy into the quarterfinals. They will next play the Seattle Sounders on July 7 in Seattle at 7:30 p.m.