LA Galaxy's CCL dreams end with 4-2 loss to Club Tijuana in Mexico
It took seven goals and all 95 minutes of a topsy-turvy match to do it, but the Los Angeles Galaxy's CONCACAF Champions League adventure has come to a close. The MLS side lost the second leg of its quarterfinal matchup with Liga MX outfit Club Tijuana by a 4-2 score at Estadio Caliente on Tuesday night, losing the home-and-home series 4-3 on aggregate.
The Champions League tie didn't just mark the start of a regional rivalry between two clubs separated by just 140ish miles -- it also contained some highly-entertaining soccer from the very first minute.
Tijuana needed just 57 seconds to erase the one-goal advantage the Galaxy had built in the first leg, as Jaime Ayovi cleaned up his own cross into the box as it ricocheted around the Galaxy defense. Ayovi would give Tijuana the aggregate lead just eight minutes later, beating the Galaxy offside trap on a lofted ball to the top of the box and poking the second goal of the game past goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.
Things got even worse for the American side in the 26th minute, when Dario Benedetto capitalized on a poor error from Galaxy center back Leonardo to go one-on-one with Penedo and finished well to the far post.
The teams would go to halftime with Tijuana up 3-0, but the Galaxy made things interesting rather quickly at the start of the second. Robbie Keane put his team on the board in the 47th minute, tapping in a beautifully-executed set piece that went from the foot of Landon Donovan at midfield off a freekick, to the head of Omar Gonzalez in the penalty box, who then directed the ball right on to the run of a wide-open Keane.
And though the Galaxy would fare much better in the second half than they did in the first, Tijuana managed to net yet another goal in the 68th minute via Richard Ruiz. Another Robbie Keane strike late in the game gave the closing minutes some verve, with the Galaxy needing just one goal to tie the series on aggregate and advance on away goals. However, that goal never came.
With the loss, MLS clubs' miserable record south of the border continues. MLS teams have yet to eliminate a Mexican team from international competition in a match played in Mexico -- though both Sporting KC (vs. Cruz Azul) and San Jose Earthquakes (vs. Toluca) will attempt to do so in Wednesday evening's CCL slate.
Highlights of Club Tijuana's win below: