Action from the CONCACAF Champions League game between the visiting LA Galaxy and Cartagines on September 25, 2013, at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica. (Photo: Imagenes en Costa Rica)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – The LA Galaxy struck for three goals in the opening 30 minutes en route to a 3-0 victory over Cartagines in the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday at the Estadio Nacional.
With nine points from three matches, the Galaxy booked a third straight trip to the quarterfinals by clinching the top spot in Group 8. Mexico’s Club Tijuana, the Group 7 winner, is the only other team be assured of a place in the knockout round.
Cartagines, which needed a win to stay alive, is eliminated from contention. The 1994 CONCACAF club champion extended its CCL goal drought to 281 minutes.
Jack McBean scored his fifth all-time CCL goal in the sixth minute to give the Galaxy an early lead. After drawing a foul, the 18-year-old latched onto Rafael Garcia’s free kick and put his downward header into the net from just outside the six-yard box. He joins Ireland international Robbie Keane atop the Galaxy’s all-time CCL scoring list.
The forward also played an important role in LA’s second goal.
Pablo Mastroeni started the sequence with a free kick at midfield, finding McBean on the right flank. After drawing a pair of Cartagines defenders, McBean slipped a diagonal pass to Michael Stephens, who sent a first-time cross toward the far post.
Chandler Hoffman ran onto the ball, striking it off the far post and in from just outside the six-yard box to give the Galaxy a 2-0 lead in the 18th minute.
Laurent Courtois, who scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Isidro Metapan last week, put the game out of reach 11 minutes later. The French midfielder’s left-footed volley off a bounce from 24 yards eluded Cartagines goalkeeper Luis Torres.
Despite the early three-goal deficit, Cartagines continued to posh forward and had a solid chance to pull a goal back in the 71st minute. LA goalkeeper Brian Rowe, however, dived to his right to save Paolo Cardozo’s free kick from 24 yards.
With 10 minutes left in regulation time, the host had another dangerous set piece just outside the 18-yard box, but Leandro Silva’s low shot was saved by Rowe, who also parried away a Pablo Herrera shot in the 86th minute.
The Galaxy has now conceded one goal or less in eight of its last 10 CCL matches
While Cartagines, which is in second place in Group 8 with four points from four matches, saw its Champions League campaign come to an end, LA still has one match to play. It will head to San Salvador to take on winless Isidro Metapan on October 24 at the Estadio Cuscatlan.