Action from the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal, second leg match between Club Tijuana (red jersey) and the visiting LA Galaxy on March 18, 2014. (Photo: Mexsport)
TIJUANA, Mexico – After a first leg that ended with just a single goal, the return match in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal between Club Tijuana and the LA Galaxy was as dramatic as it was entertaining. High levels of both were in generous supply on Tuesday at the Estadio Caliente for all to savor.
The Xolos defeated their nearby neighbor to the north 4-2 in a game that featured three tallies in each half, assuring a tense conclusion as the Galaxy pushed for the goal that would earn it passage to the semifinal. Ultimately, the Mexican side survived to advance 4-3 on aggregate in what was a memorable encounter for both head coaches.
In his post-match press conference, the Galaxy’s Bruce Arena gave his appraisal of the evening.
“It wasn’t our intention to make this game entertaining tonight, but it certainly became an interesting game,” said Arena, whose team was eliminated at the quarterfinal stage for the second time in three years.
Clearly, Tijuana’s bid for progression was aided by striking for three goals before 30 minutes had passed.
“We had a disastrous first half and that cost us,” added the former United States manager. “I think [Club Tijuana] were good. The way we played, they couldn’t be bad.”
Tijuana head coach Cesar Farias praised his players for their winning mentality and effort.
“We took the field decided to win, today the team had a great match, said Farías.
Twice in the second half Club Tijuana held a two-goal lead, but in each instance the Galaxy were able to cut the deficit. Farias acknowledged that things became complicated in the second half.
“We lost focus a bit in the second half, which is something you can’t do at this level,” he added.
It will be necessary for the Xolos to remember that lesson when they meet either Cruz Azul or Sporting Kansas City for a place in the final.