The LA Galaxy achieved a hard-fought result on Wednesday at StubHub Center, playing Liga MX side Santos Laguna to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the teams' CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series.
Jelle Van Damme nearly had a dream start in his first game for the Galaxy, as his headed attempt off a corner kick in the first minute forced a reflex save from Santos goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin.
10 minutes from time, substitute Javier Orozco nearly put the visitors ahead, but his header flashed just wide of the far post. Teammate Jesus Molina, attempting to follow up on the ball, accidentally slammed into the post and needed attention from Santos' medical staff before continuing.
The teams will play the second leg next Tuesday in Torreon to determine which team will advance to the semifinal round in CCL.
- NEW-LOOK LA: The Galaxy featured five new starters in goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, defenders Van Damme and Ashley Cole, and midfielders Nigel de Jong and Emmanuel Boateng. With four of those players tasked with defending first and foremost, posting a shutout in a knockout round to start the season is a good accomplishment indeed.
- A CAUTIOUS EDGE? Given the draw, it's hard to really say either side really set itself up to advance following the first leg. But the Galaxy do have a slight edge in the second leg, provided they can capitalize on it. Obviously, if either team wins in Mexico, they'll win the series, but if the Galaxy manage to post a draw in which they score, they will advance on the away goals rule. It's far from a guarantee, but it does put them in decent shape for the away leg.
- BETTER THAN THE REST (OF MLS): The Galaxy are one of two teams (along with Seattle) to notch a draw against Mexican opposition in the CCL this week. But LA are the only team to keep a clean sheet, with the Sounders, D.C. United and Real Salt Lake each conceding two goals in their first leg match-ups.
LA: March 1 at Santos Laguna (10 pm ET)