In spite of a slow first half, Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy picked up steam and punched Marvin Solano’s Club Sport Herediano out of the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League, 4-1, at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. With the victory, the Galaxy advance to the semifinals of the confederation’s richest club tournament, where they will face the defending champions CF Monterrey.
Mar 13, 2013; Carson, CA, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy forward Robbie Keane (7) signs autographs after the game against C.S. Herediano at the Home Depot Center. The Los Angeles Galaxy defeated C.S. Herediano 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Here are six things we learned from the second leg of this CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal.
1. Omar Comin’!
Omar Gonzalez, historically, has been one of the most valued defenders for the Los Angeles Galaxy and on Wednesday, he showed why that is the case. In the 18th minute, he connected with Juninho on a corner to give Los Angeles an early 1-0 lead. The goal offsets an average performance from Gonzalez defensively. More on that in the Player Ratings.
2. Jose Villareal doesn’t miss a beat
Fresh off a successful CONCACAF Under-20 Championship run with the USA Men’s Under-20 national team, forward Jose Villareal meshed will with Robbie Keane up top and hammered home a scorcher in the 69th minute of play. The goal would go on to be the eventual game-winner. Aside from that, his experience playing at the international level made him a dangerous strike partner alongside Keane. Expect this combo to go at it again in the semis against Los Rayados…unless Landon Donovan returns to the forefront.
3. Robbie Keane showing his leadership
Despite being offsides a few more times that he would have liked, Robbie Keane did a great job steadfasting the Los Angeles Galaxy attack and his leadership on the pitch was highlighted by his goal in the 83rd minute of play that came off of a brilliant sequence by Michael Stephens and Sean Franklin.
4. Elias Aguilar showing grit for El Team
A few minutes after Keane scored, Herediano’s Elias Aguilar, who came into the match with a bit of a knock, caught the backline napping and poached home a goal in the 85th minute of play. Despite the losing effort, Aguilar is the Man of the Match for El Team on Wednesday for getting on the scoresheet; albeit way too little, way too late.
5. Beano is no slouch, either
In the final minute of stoppage time, the backline of Herediano thought the Galaxy were going to waste time and possession. Unfortunately, they left LA forward Jack McBean wide open on an island all alone, and, fancying his chances, he drilled home a volley past goalkeeper Daniel Cambronero to put an exclamation point in what was a tight contest now turned into a flat-out rout.
6. Monterrey officially on notice
The 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League semifinal home-and-home with Monterrey will be an excellent barometer as to how good this Los Angeles Galaxy team can be this year. With the Seattle Sounders, the Galaxy stand in the way of a virtual replay of last year’s final between Los Rayados and Santos Laguna. To be the champ, you have to beat the champ, and if Landon Donovan is prepared to take the lead and the armband, you can bet the Los Angeles Galaxy will leave everything on this line against CF Monterrey.