Laurent Courtois (left) scored the LA Galaxy's only goal in its 1-0 CONCACAF Champions League win over visiting Isidro Metapan on September 18, 2013, in Carson, California. (Photo: German Alegria)
CARSON, California -- The LA Galaxy defeated Isidro Metapan 1-0 on Wednesday in Group 8 play in the CONCACAF Champions' League at the StubHub Center.
The victory put the Galaxy into first place in the three-team group with six points. Cartagines fell into second on four points, while the Salvadoran side was eliminated from contention.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena rested the attacking duo of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, but his youthful squad did not look out of place on the international stage.
It was 35-year-old Laurent Courtois, though, who made the largest impression. The French midfielder scored the game’s only goal in the sixth minute after receiving a Jose Villarreal pass and striking a 15-yard shot inside the far post from the left side of the penalty area.
Shortly afterwards, LA goalkeeper Brian Rowe twice prevented Metapan from leveling. In the 17th minute, he dived to his left to stop Jose Peraza's 18-yard effort. Then, in the 28th minute, the 24-year-old tipped Christian Sanchez's 32-yard free kick from the left side over the crossbar.
Eight minutes after the break, Villarreal nearly doubled the Galaxy lead, but Metapan goalkeeper Henry Hernandez dived right to make the save.
Metapan’s best chance came in the 58th minute, when Nicolas Muñoz – the 2012-13 CCL’s joint top scorer with six goals -- hit the crossbar in the 58th minute, but the offside flag was up. The Panamanian had additional chances later, but he could not make a clean connection.
Three minutes before the end of regulation time, the Galaxy’s Gyasi Zardes forced a point-blank save from Hernandez.
LA, now 3-0-0 all-time against Metapan in CCL play, returns to action in the competition next Wednesday, when it faces Cartagines in Costa Rica. It will advance to the quarterfinals with a win or a draw.