TIJUANA, MEXICO – The LA Galaxy Insider provides his Three Points to the Galaxy’s 4-2 defeat to Club Tijuana in the CONCACAF Champions League. LA fell 4-3 on aggregate.
LATE RALLY COMES UP SHORT
Too little, too late.
Down three goals in the second half, the Galaxy threw numbers forward in search of a tying goal, but ultimately the hole proved to be too deep for LA. With the introduction of Canadian forward Rob Friend at the outset of the seond half, the Galaxy attack came alive as they adopted a direct playing style that was aided by the target striker's towering presence. With Friend holding up the run of play and Tijuana mostly sitting back, the Galaxy attackers -- like Robbie Keane, who tallied twice in the second half—were able to find considerable space to put the Xolos under pressure.
Although Friend was unable to help LA find the all-important third goal, he may have done enough to earn major consideration for a starting role in LA’s MLS match against Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
DEFENSIVE BREAK DOWNS PUT LA DOWN EARLY
The LA Galaxy came into their second leg with a lead, which lasted all but 57 seconds thanks to the first of several defensive errors that plagued LA throughout their 4-2 defeat.
In the first minute, Tijuana capitalized on a failed clearance when the ball fell perfectly for forward Jamie Ayovi. The Ecuadorian benefited from LA’s mistakes again in the ninth minute as he beat LA’s offside trap on a perfectly weighted pass by Javier Guemez. Tijuana continued their clinical barrage in the 22nd minute when Dario Benedetto pounced on a failed knockdown by Leonardo to put LA in a hole that they could not overcome.
The defensive organization improved in the second half following the inclusion of veteran left back Todd Dunivant. The Galaxy appeared much more organized defensively as they were able to keep Tijuana off the board until Richard Ruiz’s dagger in the 82nd minute. Looking ahead to LA’s match with Real Salt Lake, expect Dunivant to return to his place in the starting XI.
XOLOS OVERRUN NUMBERS IN MIDFIELD
Key to Tijuana’s victory was their ability to pack extensive numbers into midfield which proved too much for the likes of Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas.
Much like he did in the second half at StubHub Center, Tijuana head coach Cesar Farias opted to pack numbers into the center of the park. This decision proved disastrous for the Galaxy as both Brazilian central midfielders found themselves unable to sustain possession due to frequent pressure from their Xolos conterparts.
This dominance was clearly evident on the stat sheet as the Brazilians pair accounted for a total of 23 turnovers as the Galaxy crashed out of the competition.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com