FRISCO, Texas – The first day of action at the Generation Adidas Cup produced mixed results for the LA Galaxy, as they beat Toronto FC in a penalty-kick shootout, only to fall to Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb in the evening.
But the Galaxy held their own destiny going into the final day of Group B action in the Champions Division, and they did not disappoint with a 2-1 win over Peñarol on Monday. Whoever won the matchup between the MLS and Uruguayan sides would receive a sizable boost in making the quarterfinal round.
The 2-1 victory ensured a knockout match with West Ham United on Tuesday (2:45 pm ET | twitch.tv/mls).
“This tournament does a great job of testing our players’ mentality,” LA Galaxy head coach Andrew May told MLSsoccer.com. “But today’s win proves that this group of players is experienced and fully prepared to respond the right way. We aren’t here for vacation. We’re here to win [this tournament].”
With the stakes high for both sides, LA Galaxy started the match brightly. The wind at their backs, LA stormed down Peñarol’s right side in the 11th minute with a tidy exchange of one-touch passes which led to Galaxy striker Andre Ochoa smashing a shot off the underside of the crossbar.
But in the 22nd minute, Ochoa’s aim was more precise. Using a driven cross by left back Kobe Hernandez-Foster, Ochoa took one touch, spun and buried a right-footed shot from close range.
The second half started bright for LA, too.
Shortly after the halftime whistle, Martin Killeen cleaned up a loose ball in the box and smashed a left-footed half-volley into the net, doubling the MLS club’s advantage. Mauricio Cuevas then unleashed a right-footed screamer from outside the box, forcing Peñarol goalkeeper Emiliano Marquez to make an extraordinary save in the 34th minute.
Peñarol, however, halved their deficit in the final minute of regulation through center-back Pablo Lopez, who calmly finished a cross from the left side. That set up a frantic finish as both teams chased advancement out of the group stage, but the Uruguayan side’s comeback effort ultimately fell short.