LA Galaxy 2, CS Cartagines 0 | CONCACAF Champions League Match Recap
CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Keane followed his weekend hat trick with two more goals, finishing twice from Landon Donovan feeds Tuesday night to send the LA Galaxy to victory in their CONCACAF Champions League opener.
Keane tallied in the 66th minute and again deep into stoppage to deliver a 2-0 triumph over visiting CS Cartaginés of Costa Rica at the StubHub Center.
The Irish striker, who struck three times in LA's 4-2 romp Saturday night over Real Salt Lake, gave the Galaxy a 66th-minute advantage, taking a pass over the top from Donovan, then firing from a tight angle on the left. The ball ricocheted off goalkeeper Wardy Alfaro's hands and into the net.
Keane added another in the 93rd minute, after Donovan sent him in alone against Alfaro after a Gyasi Zardes throw-in near midfield.
The Galaxy repeatedly broke down the Costa Ricans' defense to create chances, a good number of them for Keane, before they finally broke through just five minutes after Donovan came off the bench.
Omar Gonzalez nearly gave the Galaxy a 60th-minute lead, nodding a Jose Villarreal corner kick past Alfaro, but left back Esteban Sirias saved it on the goal line to keep it 0-0. Moments earlier, a Zardes header was blocked by Carlos Johnson's right arm, which he'd kept to his side through the play.
Cartaginés, who created few chances, came closest to equalizing in the 72nd minute, when former Galaxy midfielder Paolo Cardozo took a pass, stepped past Gonzalez at the top of the box, then shot over the crossbar.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena's lineup was a blend of first-teamers and reserves. He gave another start to Panamanian goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, paired rookie Kofi Opare – making his competitive debut with LA – with Gonzalez in central defense and Pablo Mastroeni with Marcelo Sarvas in central midfield, returned Robbie Rogers to the left flank (with Michael Stephens on the other side), and teamed Villarreal and Keane up top.
Rogers departed just before halftime after hurting his left hamstring chasing a ball near midfield.
The Galaxy created a half-dozen chances in the first half, four for Keane, who fired at Alfaro from Mastroeni's chip in the 16th minute, volleyed a Sean Franklin feed through the goalmouth in the 21st, juggled a pass from Stephens before volleying over the crossbar in the 41st, and was stopped one-on-one by Alfaro in stoppage after Villarreal sent him through from a ball by Franklin.
Alfaro was solid most of the night, doing well to corral low crosses into his crowded goalmouth twice, snaring balls from Gonzalez's and Zardes' heads, and going down to save a sharp shot from Villarreal five minutes into the second half.
Cartaginés put just one shot on target, with Pablo Herrera firing at Penedo from about 26 yards in the 15th minute when he could have taken the ball into the box unencumbered.
The Galaxy return to league action on Saturday evening at Vancouver. Their next CCL match is on September 8 against Isidro Metapán of El Salvador.