The Galaxy opened their CONCACAF Champions League campaign with a decisive 2-0 victory over Honduran side CD Motagua.
The Galaxy are in Group A of the CONCACAF Champions League with LD Alajuelense of Costa Rica, Monarcas Morelia of Mexico, and CD Motagua. Morelia fell 1-0 to Alajuelense in Costa Rica in the other group game Tuesday night.
However, the game Tuesday night was the Galaxy’s first in ten days, allowing the team a nice respite and it showed on the field. The team did not appear tired and created numerous opportunities. It was very important to the team to start out Group play with a victory. With the first two games at home, the team needed to build up points before the team has to play road games in tough environments.
Adam Cristman opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a sliding goal on a beautiful build up started by Cristman. Cristman chested the ball down in midfield to Magee who released Sean Franklin, who found Juninho who slipped a beautiful through ball to the onrushing A.J. De la Garza who was able to put a perfect ball across the middle that a sliding Cristman was able to tap in the goal.
Motagua were led by former Galaxy attacker Guillermo “Pando” Ramirez along with former MLS MVP Amado Guevara. However, those two hardly caused any damage against a Galaxy side that looked ready for the challenge. The Galaxy have had a very hectic schedule recently with league games, friendlies against European powerhouses, and a couple of US Open Cup games.
Cristman had a couple of opportunities to add another goal, but was consistently foiled by Motagua keeper, Donaldo Morales. Morales had a fantastic game as his defense often left him exposed, and allowed the Galaxy numerous opportunities on net.
David Beckham created the second goal with a beautiful move down the right flank and a swerving ball that Franklin was unable to connect on, however the ball bounced up to Landon Donovan’s chest, he was able to control and volley it into the back of the net leaving the keeper no chance.
The Galaxy were the sharper team throughout the game, but consistently could not provide the finishing touch. They are hoping that new signing Robbie Keane can provide that throughout the rest of the season. The Galaxy held the majority of possession, but the advantage changed unexpectedly in the last 20 minutes.
Motagua defender Ivan Guerrero received a straight red card for a studs-up boot that went into Sean Franklin’s chest. However, the card seemed to energize Motagua who spent the last portion of the game in the Galaxy half, even forcing two consecutive kick saves out of Galaxy keeper Josh Saunders, who otherwise had a fairly quiet evening. Amado Guevara failed to find much space on the field and Pando Ramirez was nearly invisible, until being substituted late in the game.
The Galaxy were able to pull out the victory despite a generally poor game from Beckham. He misplayed a lot of passes in the run of play and was not much help defensively. However, the goal he helped set up allowed the Galaxy to cruise through the rest of the half and save their legs for their MLS matchup with the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday. The Galaxy’s next game in the Champions League will be Thursday August 25 when they host Alajuelense.