The young up-and-comers on Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy reserves got the job done as they took out Isidro Metapan 3-2 on Thursday night in Metapan, El Salvador to seal the No. 4 seed and a date with Costa Rica’s C.S. Herediano in the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League Championship Round. A brace from Jack McBean combined with a late-game winner from Michael Stephens proved to be enough as LA finished group play with a 3-0-1 record (10 points).
“It’s a little bit different than a game out front of The Home Depot Center,” Stephens told LAGalaxy.com’s Adam Serrano. “The crowd was into it, the field was difficult, and the other team played well, we did a good job of countering [the conditions] and we had a good game.”
“It was certainly a difficult game for our young players; they stepped up to the challenge,” Arena said after the match. “In this competition, you go on your road, it’s challenging with the officiating, the opponent, and our guys with stood all of that tonight.
“They did a great job of getting three important points.”
The first-teamers who were left behind were, needless to say, impressed by the work of the reserves and are confident they can take over when Herediano comes to town in March.
“It’s an absolutely amazing result,” midfielder Mike Magee told MLSSoccer.com’s Scott French on Friday. “Going there with some guys who haven’t necessarily been playing as much as they’d like to and get a result in a hostile environment after a lot of travel, hat’s off to those guys who won that for us.”
“It was fun to watch, that’s for sure,” captain Landon Donovan added. “I think it’s hard when you go up a goal twice and get tied twice in a place like that – for a bunch of young guys who haven’t been in a situation like that – to still have the fortitude to keep going and get the third goal. I was really impressed with that.”
“I was pleased we got the result, the young kids showed well, and it’s just another notch on their belt and a lot of quality minutes that will pay dividends down the road,” assistant manager Dave Sarachan concluded.
Meanwhile, one of the vets, defender A.J. DeLaGarza, will be suiting up for Matao, the Guam national team, in their East Asian Cup semifinal round in Hong Kong following the MLS season.
“This was a huge decision for me,” DeLaGarza said via telephone to Pacific News Center’s Jill Espiritu. “I’d like to keep that door open for me to play for Guam.”
DeLaGarza is eligible to play for Guam since he claims Chamorro blood on his father’s side. He joins the New England Revolution’s Ryan Guy as the second MLS player to suit up for Matao.