CARSON, Calif. –LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano gives his Three Points to the LA Galaxy’s 2-1 defeat to Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions League Semifinal.
MONTERREY SUBS LEAD THE RALLY
The LA Galaxy headed into the last 15 minutes up a goal, but Monterrey’s biggest stars fired back to give Los Rayados the lead heading into the second leg in Mexico next week.
Down a goal, Monterrey head coach Victor Manuel Vucetich threw numbers forward with three offensive substitutions and they would pay off late in the second half. In the 82nd minute, Cesar Delgado, who came on at halftime in place of Hiram Mier, sent in a cross to Aldo De Nigris, who saw his header was saved by Carlo Cudicini, only for the rebound to fall to Humberto Suazo, who coolly slotted home to tie the score. Monterrey’s subs would create the game-winner as well in the 90th minute as Los Rayados’ third substitution, Guillermo Madrigal, fired a cross that was headed past Cudicini by De Nigris.
LA had their own substitution issue as struggled to recoup once Brazilian midfielder Juninho went down with an apparent injury in the 61st minute of play.
POOR FINISHING DOOMS THE GALAXY
There is an old saying in Spanish that goes “the goals that you do not make, are the goals that get scored against you” and the LA Galaxy found themselves subject to this law on Wednesday.
Countless times as the Galaxy pushed ahead early on in the game and after taking the lead, they would go close but were ultimately unable to add to A.J. DeLaGarza's opening tally. Whether it was Sean Franklin’s contested shot on an empty net that was fired wide or Robbie Keane’s pointblank shot that was saved by Juan de Dios Ibarra, LA were unable to find the decisive goal.
As the Galaxy continued to press, Monterrey weathered the storm and eventually made the Galaxy pay late in the second half with a pair of goals to take a 2-1 advantage into the second leg.
GALAXY BEHIND THE EIGHT BALL GOING INTO THE SECOND LEG
The late goals by Humberto Suazo and Aldo de Nigris put the Galaxy behind 2-1 on aggregate, but also in a difficult spot in terms of the away goals rule. A tie or LA defeat would see the Galaxy's dream of a berth in the Champions League Finals come to an end while the Galaxy would need to win by two goals or more or score at least twice in order to salvage the series.
LA have had success on the road in important Champions League games in the past, going unbeaten (2-0-3) in their last five road games in this competition. However, the Galaxy have never won in Mexico in the Champions League, losing 2-1 to Monarcas Morelia in September 2011 in their only previous visit south of the border.
The Galaxy can force extra time with a 2-1 win at Estadio Tecnológico on April 10 while any multi-goal win would also send LA through. If the Galaxy win by a single goal AND score three times or more, they would also get through thanks to a superior number of away goals.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com