Mexican international Orbelin Pineda was the difference-maker, striking a glorious game-winner just after halftime and assisting on Jose Maduena's early opener. Rookie Emil Cuello scored his first goal for the Galaxy, a devilishly-struck dipper from distance, to draw the hosts level amid waves of pressure from La Maquina, but it proved insufficient.
With plenty of mileage on his team's legs this month and a massive El Trafico showdown with LAFC looming on Sunday, Galaxy coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto had tough lineup choices to make and he elected to give Zlatan Ibrahimovic and several other regulars a night's rest.
The youngish group on the DHSP pitch carried their club's colors proudly, testing goalkeeper Jesus Corona right until the very end. But the large contingent of Cruz Azul fans in the house left happy as their side booked a date with Tigres UANL in the Leagues Cup final next month.
- THE BIG PICTURE: The need to juggle minutes during a hectic stretch in their schedule left the Galaxy outgunned, at least on paper, against La Maquina's wealth of elite talent. They embraced that underdog status and made life difficult for the Mexico City giants, though, and were unlucky to be denied a late leveler after hanging tough under difficult circumstances.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Pineda's viciously-struck bender swerved past Matt Lampson and into the top corner to decide this match in fitting fashion...
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Orbelin Pineda takes this honor thanks to the moments of match-winning quality he showed in the final third.
- LA: Sunday, Aug. 25 at LAFC - MLS (10:30 pm ET | FS1 in US; TSN1 in Canada)
- CAZ: Saturday, Aug. 24 vs. Puebla - Liga MX (8 pm ET)