The Los Angeles Galaxy Major League Soccer (MLS) club silenced all doubters by winning its first-ever championship with a 3-2 victory over Olimpia of Honduras in the Football Confederation Champions Cup Final at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. The Galaxy will represent the Football Confederation at the FIFA Club World Championships in Spain from July 29 to August 12 and earn a minimum purse of $1 million.
“I was very proud of what our team did today,” said Head Coach Sigi Schmid, “you know the history of the Galaxy has been that it can’t win the big game.” “I can’t say enough about the spirit of this team and the hard work they put in to overcome injuries, missing players and contract disputes."
As the two representatives from the Football Confederation, the Galaxy and Olimpia will join a 12-team field at the Club World Championship in Spain at a site(s) to be determined. The field will include two teams from Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and one team from Oceania and Spain, as the host country. In 2000, each qualifying club received $2.5 million with the winner earning $6 million and the runner up $5 million.
The Los Angeles Galaxy was named the tournament’s winner of the MasterCard “Fair Play” award and Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who allowed only three goals, was named Telmex “Top Goalkeeper”. Defender Ezra Hendrickson scored two goals in the victory, while teammate Cobi Jones added a goal of his own and Alexi Lalas earned two assists.
“We are just a young developing league here in the United States and we wanted to prove that we could play with the best in the world,” said Hartman. “I think that was something we were able to do today.”
In the 34th minute, Gerson Vasquez of Olimpia sent a long cross from the right side into the 18-yard box, for teammate Carlos Paes de Oliveria. Inside the box, Lalas attempted to head away the ball, but was called for a handball foul, earning Olmpia a penalty kick.
Olimpia midfielder Danilo Tasello converted the penalty kick for the game’s first goal in the 34th minute, beating Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman to the right post.
Only two minutes later, Hendrickson responded by powering a header past Olimpia goalkeeper Donaldo Gonzalez. Peter Vagenas sent an in swinging corner kick to the far post where Lalas earned a bit of redemption for the penalty by heading the ball back across to Hendrickson.
Los Angeles stormed back in the 39th minute as Jones scored his first goal of the tournament on an amazing half volley through the legs of his defender and past netminder Donaldo Gonzalez. Once again, it was Lalas proving the importance of his acquisition by striking a 30-yard cross to the foot of Jones, who gave L.A. a 2-1 advantage.
Olimpia equalized in the 51st minute, Merlin Menbreño fired a sharp cross into the near post. Charging into the box, Robert Lima nodded the pass just inside the near post, tying the match at 2-2.
Hendrickson scored the game-winning goal in the 78th minute, off a beautiful give-and-go with Mauricio Cienfuegos. The St. Vincent National Team member started the play on the right side before blasting the return pass from Cienfuegos.
“We knew it was going to take something special. Cienfuegos fed me a great ball on the one-two and I saw the opening at the near post and I just went for it,” said Hendrickson. “I am just happy that it finally happened for us.”
The Los Angeles Galaxy will take a short break beginning on Monday, January 22 before returning for spring training on February 5, at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). For more information regarding Los Angeles Galaxy season tickets for the club’s 2001 MLS season, please call the Galaxy toll free at (877) 3GALAXY.
8th Minute: Olimpia’s Danilo Tosello sent an out swinging corner kick into the box for Denilson Costa, whose header went just wide of the right post.
10th: Tosello blasted a low bouncing shot from 20 yards out that was collected by Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.f
11th: On the right wing, Adam Frye slipped a cross into Cobi Jones, who laid the ball back to the top of the box. Simon Elliott ripped a hard shot that was blocked at the last second by an Olimpia defender.
17th: Mauricio Cienfuegos found Elliott on the left wing, Elliott took a controlling touch before crossing to the middle. Cutting into the box, Jones’ header floated just over the cross bar.
21st: Merlin Membreño dribbled past the Elliott and slipped a pass through the Galaxy’s defense for Paes de Oliveria, whose shot was saved by Hartman.
22nd: Christian Santamaria unload a blast from 22-yards out just high over the cross bar.
34th: Gerson Vasquez on the right side sent a long cross into the box for Paes de Oliveria. Lalas, who was marking Paes de Oliveria, was called for a hand ball after missing his header on the clearance. Danilo Tasello scored the penalty kick, beating Hartman just inside the right post.
36th: Hendrickson powered a header from past Olimpia goalkeeper Donaldo Gonzalez. Peter Vagenas sent an in swinging corner kick to the far post where Lalas earned a bit of redemption for the penalty kick by heading the ball back across to Hendrickson.
39th: On the right side, Lalas sent a long through ball for Jones who struck an amazing half-volley through the legs of his defender and past Olimpia goalkeeper Gonzalez.
40th: Elliott blasted a long shot from above the box that was just tipped over the cross bar by Gonzalez.
51st: Membreño sent a sharp cross into the middle to Robert Lima, whose header beat Hartman at the near post.
78th: Hendrickson dribbling up the right wing found Cienfuegos in the middle. Cienfuegos returned the favor slipping a pass through Olimpia’s defense to Hendrickson, whose shot ripped into the back of the net.
83rd: Membreño’s low shot went just wide of the near post.
LA:Hendrickson (Lalas) ’36, Jones (Lalas) ’39, Hendrickson (Cienfuegos) ‘78
OLI: Tosello (penalty kick) ’34, Lima (Membreno) ’51.
LA:Kevin Hartman, Paul Caligiuri, Greg Vanney, Alexi Lalas, Zak Ibsen, Peter Vagenas, Simon Elliott, Ezra Hendrickson, Mauricio Cienfuegos (Brian Kelly ‘+92), Cobi Jones, Adam Frye (Sasha Victorine ’60).
OLI: Donaldo Gonzalez, Christian Santamaria, Merlin Membreno, Jose Luis Pineda (Reynaldo Tilguath ’88), Alex Pineda Chacon (Arnold Cruz ’82), Carlos Paes de Oliveria, Robert Lima, Danilo Tosello, Denilson Costa, Jorge Samuel Caballero, Gerson Vasquez.
Shots on Goal
LA- Alexi Lalas ’34
OLI- Pineda ’43, Santamaria ‘81
Referee: Peter Pendergast
Asst: Curtis Charles
Asst: Vladimir Bertiaga
4th Official: J.J. Robles
Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Olimpia
January 21, 2001
“It was a huge victory for American soccer. It establishes what we are trying to prove, that MLS is a quality league and that we have players that we have organization, that we have coaches, we have owners that are supportive of this game and more so than anything that the U.S. Soccer is something that has to be looked upon as being quality. People haven’t looked upon us as having anything of meaning and now people will hopefully look at us as meaningful club play in the U.S. and clubs that are of quality.”
“We were hoping someone would come through with two goals, we didn’t know for it would be Ezra, but I told Ezra he needed to pay back a little for what they did to St. Vincents (St. Vincent was defeated by Honduras in World Cup Qualifying).