Through "CONCACAF Retro" you will revisit the region's most memorable people, events and crowning achievements.
LA Galaxy earns first international crown as century begins
Despite not gaining any titles in its first five years of existence, the USA's Los Angeles Galaxy ended the drought by winning the 2000 CONCACAF Champions' Cup after a thrilling 3-2 victory over visiting CD Olimpia of Honduras in the final at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on January 21, 2001.
LA, the second-ever club from the USA to capture the confederation club championship (D.C. United won it three years earlier), was competing in the Champions' Cup for a third time under then head coach Sigi Schmid.
"It was a difficult tournament for us," remembered Schmid, who now is at the helm of the USA's Seattle Sounders FC."Alexi Lalas just came out of retirement and was easing into the team, then Danny Califf had an off-the-field injury before we began training, so he was out of the tournament.
"Alexi, instead of being eased into the team, had to step out and play, which after having been retired for over a year was difficult. Upfront we had a couple of injuries, our defender Adam Fyre had to play center forward and he hadn't played that position since freshman year at college for me at UCLA.We had sort of a makeshift team and we got goals from different places. One of things I remember is Erza Hendrickson scoring goals in that game (against Olimpia) and he became an important influence for us."
Defense proved to be key for both Los Angeles and Olimpia on the way to a championship meeting.
The Hondurans posted shutouts in their quarterfinal (1-0 v Toluca) and semifinal (4-0 v Pachuca) encounters, while LA needed penalties to overcome Real España (0-0, 6-5 pks) and D.C. United (1-1, 4-2 pks).
"You need to be lucky and you need to get a break and especially in the game against Real CD España," surmised Schmid."Kevin Hartman (goalkeeper) is very good on penalties and he was in good forum those days and our guys hit theirs as well."
In the final, the Leones took a 34th minute lead thanks to a Danilo Tosello penalty.Hendrickson leveled the score two minutes later, and Cobi Jones, just prior to the break, fired a shot past Gonzalez to give the Galaxy a 2-1 advantage.
Robert Lima hammered home a fierce header to equalize for Olimpia in the 52nd minute, ultimately paving the way for Hendrickson's heroics.
The St. Vincent & the Grenadines native broke the deadlock in the 78th minute by receiving a Mauricio Cienfuegos pass and then driving the ball over Olimpia goalkeeper Donaldo Gonzalez.
"Well, I just happened to be the one who scored the goals, but it was a total team effort," said Hendrickson."Every game was a battle, but we always found a way to come out on top."
Schmid was unequivocal in his praise of Hendrickson's contribution to the team's success.
"He (Hendrickson) had a unique ability to get inside the defender and get shots at the near post," said the German-born coach."His attacking was really vital for our team as we were depleted up front.
"I think Ezra played very well and was our best player in the tournament."
By virtue of their tournament placings, the Galaxy and Olimpia earned spots at the 2001 FIFA Club World Championship in Spain.That trip would never happen after FIFA announced the competition's cancellation a few months prior to its scheduled start date.
"We had a core group of guys (Cobi Jones, Mauricio Cienfuegos, etc.) that really wanted to start winning some trophies for the club because we were a good team that hadn't won much until then," added Hendrickson, who is now retired and is an assistant coach with the Sounders. "After that, the trophies came year after year, so that was the beginning of something special that laid the foundation for the Galaxy club of today."
In addition to the CONCACAF club title, the Galaxy has won three MLS Cup championships, two U.S. Open Cups and has made two appearances in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Schmid finished: "What we wanted to establish for ourselves was that we can get over that final hurdle and could win the big games.Even though we won a couple on penalties and then the championship, it gave the team confidence.Including the CONCACAF tournament, we were in seven competitions and were in six finals, winning three.It showed we had the capability of winning games that were difficult and finishing off what we started, so that whole jump start (for Galaxy) came because of that CONCACAF win."
Los Angeles Galaxy Roster - 2000 CONCACAF Champions' Cup
GOALKEEPERS: Kevin Hartman, Matt Reis
DEFENDERS: Paul Caligiuri, Alexi Lalas, Greg Vanney, Craig Waibel
MIDFIEKDERS: Mauricio Cienfuegos, Simon Elliot, Ezra Hendrickson, Zak Ibsen, Brian Kelly, Ivan Polic, Peter Vagenas, Sebastian Vorbe
FORWARDS: Adam Frye, Cobi Jones, Marvin Quijano, Sasha Victorine.
TD: Sigi SCHMID
Final Round Results
Quarterfinals - Fullerton's Titan Stadium
16.01: CD Toluca (MEX) - CD Olimpia (HON) 0:1; Pachuca CF (MEX) - Joe Public FC (TRI) 1:0
17.01: D.C. United - LD Alajuelense (CRC) 2:1; L.A. Galaxy - Real CD España 0:0, 5:3 pen
Semifinals - L.A. Coliseum
19.01: Pachuca CF - CD Olimpia 0:4; L.A. Galaxy - D.C. United 1:1, 4:2 pen
Third Place - L.A. Coliseum
21.01: Pachuca CF - D.C. United 2:1
Final - L.A. Coliseum
21.01: CD Olimpia - L.A. Galaxy 2:3For more information or general inquiries concerning historical content, please contact Steven Torres, CONCACAF Director of Information Services at email@example.com.