MEXICO CITY – The LA Galaxy fell 2-1 to Pumas UNAM in a closed-door scrimmage in Mexico City on Tuesday.
Below are a few thoughts from the match…
*The Mexico City altitude was a major factor in the match as the Galaxy players began the match sluggishly. During the opening 35 minutes, Pumas controlled the tempo until the Galaxy were able to threaten with a few late chances. The narrative repeated itself in the second stanza as Pumas again dominated proceddings early before LA grabbed a late goal. Although there will be no altitude factor when the Galaxy take on Club Tijuana in March, they will be making several trips this year to Colorado and Salt Lake. Plus, if LA is successful against Tijuana and Cruz Azul bounces Sporting KC, the Galaxy will be back in “D.F.” in April for the CONCACAF Champions League Semifinals.
*In what was a lackluster first half, forwards Rob Friend and Samuel put forth another strong performance. Both strikers were unlucky not to score in the early moments and each showed impressive grit up top against a physical Pumas defense. Samuel, in particular, was quite dangerous as he repeatedly dropped into midfield to create scoring opportunities.
*The 2014 season is very important for Chandler Hoffman and against Pumas the 23-year-old forward was one of the game’s most impressive players. Partnered alongside the inexperienced Bradford Jamieson IV in the second half, Hoffman was dangerous and he repeatedly tested the UNAM back four. Just moments after coming into the match, Hoffman nearly pulled the Galaxy level but saw his chance sail just wide. Undeterred, the industrious Hoffman helped create LA’s only goal as he forced the corner that led to Kyle Venter’s goal.
*In addition to getting a goal, Venter and his partner in central defense, Leonardo performed well in the second half, limiting UNAM’s scoring opportunities despite the Mexican side controlling possession. The Brazilian in particular was able to make several last ditch clearances including one that prevented a late Pumas breakaway.
*After struggling against FC Shirak, goalkeeper Jaime Penedo’s timing was much improved against the Mexican side. The Panamanian international made several timely clearances against Pumas after several costly turnovers against FC Shirak.