The Los Angeles Galaxy were held to a scoreless draw in their second preseason match at the StubHub Center by Liga MX side Xolos Tijuana. Neither side really got anything going in the final third of the pitch with not many shots finding the target, which was reflected by the score line.
Both struggled to find touch in final third
In just the fourth minute of play, the visitors though, got the first half-chance of the night through American Paul Arriola let fly from inside the eighteen but a Galaxy defender got in the way of the shot and eventually cleared the danger. Arriola announced himself early in the match, playing a pivotal role in Tijuana’s build-up especially as he tried to win possession back against a much bigger, stronger Jelle Van Damme but eventually fouled him.
Van Damme also worked hard throughout his time on the pitch which was never more true than in the 18th minute as it looked like Arriola was going to be able to cut back in from the right, but the big Belgian defender matched his speed and timed his tackle to perfection.
It took 25 minutes for the Galaxy to get their first shot of the match and it came off the right foot of Steven Gerrard, flying high and well above the top of the cross bar. A minute later, Ashley Cole saw Federico Vilar well off his line and tried an audacious chip that went wide of the target. Gerrard whipped a good ball into the area following a free kick just after the half hour mark that nearly fell onto the head of an on-rushing Gyasi Zardes; instead, it fell out of play for a goal kick.
Robbie Rogers’ lone adventure into the attacking third of the field came three minutes after the halftime interval when he delivered a dangerous cross into the area. But that was cut out by the Tijuana goalkeeper, though it was dangerous as Zardes was lurking nearby.
Defenses hold firm in second half
Gonzalo Diaz, during the second half of the match, seemed to be the major outlet going forward and showed his quality while he battled Robbie Rogers down the right side of the pitch, putting on move after move before his cross got blocked. Emmanuel Boateng tried to release Robbie Keane down the middle of the Tijuana defense, his pass, unfortunately, did not have the right angle on it and Vilar cleared it away. Boateng lifted the ball up in the air to himself with his back to goal before turning and firing a weak shot straight into the arms of Vilar.
The best chance to score by either side in the second stanza came when Oscar Sorto and Zardes played a nice one-two before the latter had his shot stopped with around 15 minutes remaining in the match. Later, in the 81st minute, it was Raul Mendiola electrifying the crowd as he nutmegged a Tijuana defender before scooping his effort up and over the goal. Jose Villarreal had the final look at goal in the last minute of regular time when he lined up a free kick but could not find his scoring touch as he sent it over the top of the goal.
Los Angeles now heads to Las Vegas to take on the San Jose Earthquakes in their final preseason match before welcoming DC United to open up the regular season in early March while having to face a tough Santos Laguna side in the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals in between.