CARSON, Calif. – It is with a sense of relief that the LA Galaxy take on CS Herediano in the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series on Wednesday at The Home Depot Center (7 p.m., Fox Soccer, Univision Deportes, KWKW 1330, LIVECHAT).
The two sides drew 0-0 on Thursday night at Estadio Elano Rosabal Cordero in Heredia, Costa Rica and the Galaxy feel fortunate to have come back home with a tie fashioned in less than favorable conditions, from a bumpy and uneven surface to playing in front of a hostile crowd that pelted them with coins and even spit.
Highlights: Herediano 0, LA 0 (first leg)
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, asked if he was happy with the result, said, “I’m not sure happy is the right word. I’m OK with it. It means we’re in position to advance if we win the game.
“Most of the time you need to come home in these kinds of competitions and win the game. It’s not the worst position to be in.”
But players and coaches still feel some frustration, too, after a game they felt they were in control of most of the way. Mike Magee, for example, hit the bar from six yards out off a pass from Robbie Keane seven minutes into the second half, and Magee was ruled offside on a questionable call 15 minutes later, negating what appeared to be a clean goal.
“You can tell by my reaction, but obviously it doesn’t matter now,” he said when asked his thoughts on the call. “I should have finished the chance before that as well.
“Going there and getting a 0-0 result and getting to come home and know we have to win it, it’s more than we could ask for.”
Herediano had its chances, too, from Yendrick Ruiz hitting the crossbar off a corner kick by Elias Aguilar in the 43rd minute to Ismael Gomez missing a debated penalty kick in the 87th minute.
It was the latter play, which came after Jamaican referee Courtney Campbell adjudged the Galaxy’s Sean Franklin, despite minimal contact, to have fouled Gomez, that still rankled the Galaxy this week.
“It was a game where the referee allowed contact the entire game,” Arena said. “That play was probably the least bit of contact the entire game and he called a penalty kick on us.”
Said veteran left back Todd Dunivant, “It happens in this tournament. I thought on the day the referee was great. You can’t say he got that one right. It happens, and just have to play through it.”
Magee said what transpired last week was another example of what Arena often preaches about these kinds of competitions: expect the unexpected.
“It shows a lot about the guys to get a 0-0 result,” he said. “We felt like we did everything to give ourselves a chance to win the game. It left a little bit of a bad taste in our mouths.”