Nicolas Muñoz (left) is congratulated by teammate Francisco Alvarez after his four-goal performance in Isidro Metapan's 4-0 CONCACAF Champions League win over the LA Galaxy on October 25, 2013, at the Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador, El Salvador. (Photo: El Gràfico)
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- Nicolas Muñoz equaled a tournament mark by striking for four goals during a remarkable 12-minute span in the first half to power Isidro Metapan to a 4-0 Group 8 victory over the LA Galaxy in the CONCACAF Champions League on Thursday.
The Panamanian tied the record for most goals scored in a single CCL match, joining Jose Maria Cardenas and Javier Orozco, who achieved the feat a week apart in 2010, with Santos and Cruz Azul, respectively.
Entering the evening at the Estadio Cuscatlan, both teams' fates already had been decided.
The Salvadoran side (1-1-2, 4 points) recorded its first group win after it was eliminated from contention in its last game. The Galaxy (3-0-1, 9 points), which had not surrendered a goal in its previous three CCL matches, had already qualified for the knockout phase. Defeat, however, caused the two-time defending U.S. champion’s quarterfinal seed to fall from a potential first to a sixth.
Metapan gained a measure of revenge, defeating LA for the first-ever time after three losses.
With a vital Major League Soccer game that has playoff seeding implications at the Seattle Sounders on Sunday, the Galaxy left many of its starters home, including standouts Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.
Muñoz, who had scored seven of Metapan's previous nine CCL goals, continued his amazing touch. The 31-year-old began his one-man show in the 29th minute, when he bounced a 30-yard free kick past goalkeeper Brian Rowe into the lower left corner.
Barely a minute later, the striker eluded two defenders in the box and slotted a nine-yard shot home for a two-goal advantage.
In the 33rd minute, Muñoz -- the joint top scorer with Santos Laguna's Carlos Darwin Quintero in last year’s CCL with six goals – made it 3-0. After taking a long pass on the right side, he beat Tommy Meyer and then rounded Rowe to net from eight yards.
With four minutes left in the first half, Muñoz punctuated the historic performance with an instinctive chip from 17-yards over Rowe for his 11th career CCL tally.
Conversely, LA found its own first-half scoring chances to be limited. The best opportunity came in the 39th minute, but Jack McBean's 16-yard effort hit the right-side netting.
LA head coach Bruce Arena tried to spark his team by inserting Robbie Rogers and Chandler Hoffman for the start of the second half. Though the personnel moves helped the visitors keep Metapan off the scoreboard, it wasn't enough to cut into the margin of victory.
NOTES: Metapan snapped a six-game CCL winless streak that included five losses…the win was Metapan’s largest in its CCL history…LA had conceded only four goals in its previous seven CCL outings…it was the most goals LA had allowed in a CCL match since a 4-1 loss to the Puerto Rico Islanders on July 27, 2010, its first-ever game in the competition.