Aug 20, 2013; Carson, CA, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy players huddle during a Champions League match against Cartagines at the StubHub Center. The Galaxy defeated Cartagines 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Galaxy vs. C.S. Cartagines: 6 Things We Learned

Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy return to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals after shutting out Javier Delgado’s Club Sport Cartagines of Cartago, Costa Rica to the tune of 3-0.

A victory in October over Isidro Metapan should give the G’s some optimal seeding ahead of the knockout rounds. Here are six thing we learned from Wednesday night’s contest between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Club Sport Cartagines.

1. LA start hot off the gates

A major gamble for Bruce Arena was sending in the reserves for yet another match, with the intention of playing for at least a draw. LA were clearly prioritizing the match with Portland on Sunday. Jack McBean had an early chance in the second minute, but his header went over. Cartagines’s first chance in the fourth minute was cleared by Pablo Mastroeni.

McBean broke through in the sixth minute with a set piece finish that eluded Luis Torres, and suddenly, Cartagines were on their heels. This was on Andres Flores not marking McBean inside the box. Pablo Herrera nearly broke through in the 11th minute to equalize but was called back for offsides. Flores nearly atoned for his shortcomings in the 13th minute but he did win a corner. In the end, that was poorly taken.

2. Hoffman and Courtois deliver more of the pain

Seemed that in the first half, Landon Donovan was not really needed at all. Chandler Hoffman doubled Los Angeles’s advantage in the 17th minute of the run of play thanks to a sequence from McBean and Michael Stephens. Now the home side was really on their heels, and that allowed LA to dominate possession, win the ball, and essentially treat Cartagines like Seattle.

Later on, midway through the match, Los Azules were winning the possession battle more often but were primarily stuck in their own half. The few times they were able to send a ball forward, the Galaxy back line was their to sweep. Laurent Courtois added more pain to Cartagines’s woes in the 28th minute with a scorcher.

3. Sound defending from Los Angeles to close out first

Jun 29, 2013; Palo Alto, CA, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy forward Jack McBean (32) against the San Jose Earthquakes during the second half at Stanford Stadium. San Jose Earthquakes defeated Los Angeles Galaxy 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Cartagines were in a hole after thirty minutes and needed to draw numbers forward. Erick Scott came off the bench for Cartagines to add some offensive punch for the home team. This was where Brian Rowe’s reliability came into play, as he now started to get involved. When Rowe got involved, the Galaxy backline also did their part to hold down the fort.

Randall Brenes had a chance to pull one back in the 40th minute, but he was called back for offsides. In the 43rd minute, a set piece for Cartagines was initially cleared by Rowe, but it was called back anyway due to offsides.

C.S. Cartagines LA Galaxy
3 Attempts on Goal 7
0 Shots on Target 3
1 Shots off Target 4
2 Blocked Shots 0
1 Corner Kicks 3
6 Fouls 7
6 Open Play Crosses 9
5 Offsides 0
0 First Yellow Cards 0
0 Second Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards 0
25 Duels Won 24
51% Duels Won % 48%
198 Total Pass 119
81% Passing Accuracy % 59%
61.6% Possession 38.4%

4. Los Angeles slow it down in second half

Sep 18, 2013; Carson, CA, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy defender Tommy Meyer (21), defender Kofi Opare (28), forward Jack McBean (32) and forward Chandler Hoffman (30) block a free kick in the first half of the game against Isidro Metapan at the StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Early on in the second half, Los Angeles had a corner in the 49th minute that was cleared. What helped the Galaxy in the first half was executing the game fundamentals, which has a foundation in short, precise passes. In the 52nd minute, a corner intended for Brenes was collected by Rowe. The Galaxy had activated lockdown mode: 45 minutes of defense.

Now the only question that remained was whether or not three of the starters on the bench were going to play. McBean was getting marked physically at this point, and a fresh new face needed to steer the ship in his position. A chance for Scott in the 57th minute was cleared for a corner that was also denied in turn.

5. Cartagines throw numbers forward late

Pablo Mastroeni showed his leadership in the 64th minute and Brian Rowe exhibited his extention with a punch a minute later. Cartagines were pushing and continued to win the possession battle, but the likes of Oscar Sorto were taking the bull by the horns in the 67th minute.

Paolo Cardozo, a former LA Galaxy member, had Cartagines’s best chance in the 71st minute, but Rowe came up big with the collection. A minute later, Rowe denied Scott with the swoop. Still, Los Azules continued to push and press because they were in a hole and their playoff lives depended on taking risks.

6. Sarvas punches ticket for the Galaxy

Sep 14, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Marcelo Sarvas (8) controls the ball during the first half against the D.C. United at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial. Mandatory Credit: Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sports

Marcelo Sarvas got subbed into the game in the 77th minute, perhaps to close out the match. Right away, Cartagines’s Danny Fonseca hacked him out of frustration and got cautioned. A shot from Leandro Silva in the 81st minute was collected by Rowe. Scott had another chance to pull one back in the 85th minute but missed wide right. That shot epitomized the sorry effort from a team that would crash out of the CONCACAF Champions League.

Pablo Herrera’s next attempt in the 86th minute was tipped high for a corner. That would be all she wrote though, as Los Angeles progressed to the quarterfinals.

C.S. Cartagines LA Galaxy
11 Attempts on Goal 7
5 Shots on Target 3
2 Shots off Target 4
4 Blocked Shots 0
6 Corner Kicks 5
10 Fouls 21
21 Open Play Crosses 14
5 Offsides 1
2 First Yellow Cards 1
0 Second Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards 0
54 Duels Won 44
55% Duels Won % 44%
484 Total Pass 276
80% Passing Accuracy % 66%
63.5% Possession 36.5%

Tags: Club Sport Cartagines Concacaf Champions League Los Angeles Galaxy Major League Soccer Mls

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