The Los Angeles Galaxy and Santos Laguna play to a scoreless draw on Wednesday night at the StubHub Center in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) quarterfinal series.
A PRODUCTIVE FIRST HALF THAT HAS NO RESULTS FOR THE GALAXY
LA left the match with more to be desired. The Galaxy dominated the tempo of the game in the first half. They outshot the Liga MX club eight to five and placed three of their four shots on target in the first part of the match. It was clear that the Galaxy wanted to end game one with a few goals in their pocket and comfy lead heading to the tricky game two in Mexico.
LA started the game determined to score first, as newcomer defender Jelle van Damme nearly put the Galaxy ahead with powerful header in the first minute. Mexican playmaker Giovani Dos Santos took the corner kick, he placed the ball right into the path of the Belgium defender.
Damme overpowered his defender and headed the ball towards the net. However, Santos’s goalkeeper Agustin Marchesín made his first of four saves in the match to deny the home club their dream start.
The Argentinean goalkeeper was called into action again a few minutes later. Galaxy’s captain Robbie Keane fed another new player for LA, speedster Emmanuel Boateng a through ball. The speedy winger made a run into the box and was by himself when he received the pass.He right away started heading to the goal. Right before he blasted the close range shot the Santos keeper dove first and stopped the destined goal to keep the game scoreless at the 19th minute.
Marchesín was kept busy for the entire first half. Right before the half break, he was forced to make another big save. This time he denied Dos Santos close range effort. The two time World Cup veteran received the ball inside the center of the box.
He was marked and had his back to the goal. However, that did not stop him, as he quickly executed a spin and then fired a shot. The keeper once again made the save and Dos Santos lied on the ground stunned that game was still scoreless.
SANTOS TAKES OVER IN THE SECOND HALF
In the second half the momentum changed as Santos began to take more of the initiative. They created six of their 11 shots and had two of them on target. Chilean international Bryan Rabello led his club with four shots in the game and two of them were placed on the frame. His activity was proving to be a nuisance for the Galaxy defense as the game carried on.
The new LA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy did his part in the second half to avoid Santos from leaving the StubHub Center with crucial away goal. The former FC Dallas keeper made two of his three saves in the second half.
However, the Mexican club did not only just produce more lethal chances in the final 45 minutes, but they were also moving the ball at a rapid pace. Their movement caused havoc for the Galaxy. In result, they committed 14 fouls and were shown three yellow cards; two of them came in the second half.
It was clear that in the dying moments LA was running on fumes. As their final two shots that came from U.S. international Gyasi Zardes and Keane in the final 10 minutes were both off target.
With this result both clubs still have everything to play for in the final leg on Tuesday at the Estadio Corona. Since Santos did not score an away goal on Wednesday, LA only has to win by 1-0 or even draw 1-1 to advance due to the away goal rule. That being said matches in Mexico for Major League Soccer clubs have always proven to be difficult and frustrating for them.