• Wednesday Apr 03, 2013

    Late rally propels Monterrey past Galaxy

    By Dylan Butler

    CARSON, California - Humberto Suazo and Aldo De Nigris struck twice inside the final eight minutes as Monterrey rallied to defeat the LA Galaxy, 2-1, in the opening leg of their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal series Wednesday night at the Home Depot Center.

    Defender A.J. DeLaGarza gave the home side a first-half lead, but Suazo scored his 15th career CCL goal, a critical away tally before de Nigris struck for the dramatic winner as the teams head to the Estadio Tecnologico for the second leg April 10.

    The winner faces either the Seattle Sounders or Santos Laguna in the final. Santos took the first leg in Seattle, 1-0, Tuesday night.

    Los Angeles, which saw its six-game unbeaten streak in CCL play snapped, took the lead in the 28th minute through DeLaGarza. The play started with Jose Villarreal cutting the ball back and making a run into the 18-yard box.

    The United States youth international laid the ball back to Robbie Keane and the Irish international lobbed it toward the back post. Mike Magee flicked a header in front where DeLaGarza knocked it past Mexican goalkeeper Juan de Dios Ibarra.

    Suazo leveled in the 82nd minute, tapping in the rebound of a saved header by de Nigris. Carlo Cudicini dived to make the initial stop, but the Chilean international pounced, scuffing his first attempt before burying the second. The goal took him joint second with Santos' Carlos Darwin Quintero on the all-time CCL scoring chart.

    De Nigris then added the winner in the 90th minute, taking a pass from Luis Guillermo Madrigal off his thigh, before knocking it past an onrushing Cudicini.

    The Galaxy dominated in the opening 45 minutes, but couldn't add a key second goal. In the 42nd minute, Keane floated a ball toward the far post, but Jose Maria Basanta did enough to force Sean Franklin to put his attempt over the net.

    A minute later, Magee found space down the left, but his cross was knocked away by Ibarra.

    Suazo nearly made the host pay for a defensive miscue seven minutes after the interval, but Cudicini came off his line to stop the Chilean's shot from eight meters.

    Landon Donovan came on in the 63rd minute, replacing Villarreal moments after Michael Stephens subbed in for an injured Juninho.

    Two minutes later, Donovan nearly added an insurance goal, but his first-time effort from the top of the box off a pass from Keane bounced wide of the target.

    In the 67th minute, Magee played the ball to a wide-open Keane in front of goal, but Ibarra made a desperate lunge off his line to make a huge save.

    Monterrey, the only team to have appeared in four or more CONCACAF Champions League semifinals and not lose, gained confidence and momentum as the match entered the final quarter hour.

    And once Suazo managed the equalizer, the two-time defending CCL champion seized the match and, like Santos Laguna, head home with a one-goal advantage.

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