The LA Galaxy and Club Tijuana blessed the fledgling Leagues Cup with a dose of drama on Tuesday night.
The two clubs settling their quarterfinal matchup with a penalty-kick shootout after they finished regulation time deadlocked at 2-2, Galaxy goalkeeper Matt Lampson saved three spot kicks and Giancarlo Gonzalez blasted the winner into the top right corner to see the Los Angeles side into the tournament's semifinals, where they'll meet Cruz Azul.
Emmanuel Boateng opened the night's scoring when a shot by Kai Koreniuk took a heavy deflection off his torso and wrongfooted Xolos goalkeeper Gibran Lajud on its way into the net. Tijuana replied almost immediately, however, as Ariel Nahuelpan fired the equalizer into an empty net after a strong spell of passing and movement tore open the Galaxy defense.
Washington Camacho pushed the Baja Californians in front with a firm one-time finish after a late run into the box just before the halftime break. That lead was erased early in the second stanza, when a lightly-marked Dave Romney thumped Efra Alvarez's well-delivered corner kick past Lajud from close range.
Chances went begging at both ends before the full-time whistle blew, which in this event's format was followed immediately by the shootout, where the Galaxy held their nerve to survive and advance.
- 27' – LA – Emmanuel Boateng | WATCH
- 33' – TIJ – Ariel Nahuelpan | WATCH
- 45' – TIJ – Washington Camacho | WATCH
- 54' – LA – Dave Romney | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: No Zlatan Ibrahimovic, no Jonathan dos Santos... no problem for the Galaxy, who held their nerve against Nahuelpan and the rest of Xolos' talented attack despite featuring nearly as many players from their Los Dos USL side as the first team. It wasn't always pretty, but what a boost for those who took part.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Romney's set-piece equalizer was key, but we'll point to Lampson's shootout saves, particularly his third, as the most riveting element of the proceedings...
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Considering he'd never saved a PK in nine career tries in MLS, Matt Lampson's spot-kick heroics were both surprising and inspiring, to say nothing of his three saves in regulation time.
- LA: Saturday, July 27 at Portland - MLS (10:30 pm ET | FS1 in US; TSN4 in Canada)
- TIJ: Saturday, July 27 vs. Queretaro - Liga MX (10 pm ET)