CCL recap: Beckham, LA open with 5-2 rout of Metapán
CARSON, Calif. — David Beckham set up two first-half goals and scored a third as the LA Galaxy overcame an early deficit to rout Isidro Metapán 5-2 in their CONCACAF Champions League opener at The Home Depot Center on Thursday night.
Beckham's crosses led to goals two minutes apart, an own goal by Metapán defender Ricardo Alvarado in the 20th minute and a Robbie Keane header in the 22nd, as LA answered Nicolás Muñoz's fourth goal of the tournament in the 17th.
Beckham then curled in a corner kick off goalkeeper Fidel Mondragón's fists with the final touch of the first half, and Juninho netted two goals in the second half, scoring in the 82nd minute and in stoppage time.
Muñoz converted a penalty kick in the 87th minute after Bryan Gaul, who had come off the bench two minutes earlier, dragged down Shawn Martin in the Galaxy box.
Beckham's goal was the 1,000th since CONCACAF adopted the league format for its club championship four years ago.
Keane was ejected under cloudy circumstances in the 70th minute. Mexican referee Alfredo Peñaloza cautioned the Irish striker for diving after he was tripped above Metapán's box. Keane bounced up, signaled that he wanted to be substituted, and Peñaloza pulled the red card.
Landon Donovan, slowed by a hamstring strain sustained in last week's U.S. victory over Mexico at Estadio Azteca, wasn't in the team for the Galaxy (1-0-0), who surged atop the Group 5 standings with the victory. Metapán (1-1-0) also have three points after a 3-1 win on Aug. 1 over the Puerto Rico Islanders. Only the winner in the three-team group advances to next year's quarterfinals.
Metapán were missing four players reportedly unable to acquire visas for the trip to Los Angeles, including starting defender Ernesto Aquino and forward Jorge Ramírez.
A sharper Galaxy might have scored another seven or eight goals. Keane and Mike Magee missed open nets, Jose Villarreal fired wide in a one-on-one situation, and Mondragón parried a Villarreal header off the crossbar, all in the first half.
Metapán went ahead after miscommunication between Marcelo Sarvas and Sean Franklin enabled former D.C. United forward Eliseo Quintanilla into the box from the left flank. Todd Dunivant saved Paolo Suárez's shot off the line, but Muñoz, who has 10 of the Salvadoran club's 18 goals this season, blasted the rebound in off the right post.
The Galaxy tied it up three minutes later. Mondragón punched Beckham's cross from the right meant for Keane, and it ricocheted off Alvarado and into the net. Keane sprinted into space into the goalmouth to head home Beckham's one-bounce cross two minutes later, and LA were in command the rest of the way.
Metapán applied heavy pressure through much of the second half, but goalkeeper Josh Saunders escaped punishment after slamming into Cristhian Bautista in LA's box in the 61st minute. Four minutes later, Saunders sprawled to deny Suárez.
The Galaxy return to Major League Soccer action on Sunday against FC Dallas at The Home Depot Center.
LA's next Champions League match is against Puerto Rico at The Home Depot Center on Aug. 29.