CARSON, Calif. – It’s all about meeting challenges, and the LA Galaxy certainly have a doozy facing them now.
But it’s not like they haven’t been here before. It was during the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs that the Galaxy lost to the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 in the first leg of their two-leg Western Conference Semifinal Series. The Galaxy responded by beating the Earthquakes 3-1 on the road in the second leg to take a 3-2 series win on aggregate en route to winning their second consecutive MLS Cup title.
The Galaxy are in a similar predicament following Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Monterrey in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Semifinals in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 21,745 at The Home Depot Center. The return match is Wednesday, April 10 at Monterrey’s Estadio Tecnologico.
“It’s 180 minutes,” Galaxy left back Todd Dunivant said. “We were in this same situation last year with the Earthquakes, and we responded well. The same challenge is front of us here.”
Galaxy goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, who made three saves on Wednesday night, is a veteran of battles like these and emphasized Wednesday’s loss was not the end of the Galaxy’s chances in the two leg, aggregate goal series.
“Today we showed for 70 minutes we were on top of them,” he said. “We had good chances. We have to go there and try to win at Monterrey.”
The Galaxy took a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute on a redirection by defender A.J. DeLaGarza. The play started with a pass from Jose Villarreal to Robbie Keane, who then chipped a pass across the face of goal to Mike Magee. Magee promptly sent the ball back to DeLaGarza, who was standing on the edge of the six-yard box, where he calmly redirected the ball into the net with his right foot.
But Monterrey, the two-time defending CONCACAF Champions League titleists, rallied late in the second half. Chilean international Humberto Suazo tied it in the 82nd minute when he pounced on a rebound that fell to him right in front of the net, and Monterrey won it in the 90th minute on a goal by Aldo de Nigris, who chipped the ball over an onrushing Cudicini for the game-winning goal.
And only moments before, Cudicini had made a brilliant play in which he slapped the ball out of harm’s way with his right hand to keep the score tied at 1-1.
VIEW: Postgame Match Report
But rather than moan over a game the Galaxy appeared to let get away from them, the veteran preferred to look ahead.
“In a way it’s good because in six days we have the second leg,” he said. “We have a good week to prepare and to be ready for another battle.
“I think today for 70 minutes we played very well.
“With that in mind we have to go there and not be afraid of anything and try to win again.”