The Puerto Rico Islanders, hovering around the .500 level in USSF D2 this season, defeated the LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center 4-1 Tuesday night. The second leg of the matchup will be on August 4, as the Galaxy visit Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
The Islanders are no strangers to the CONCACAF Champions League, being only one of only seven teams to qualify all three times since the tournament changed formats. Coach Colin Clarke had his Islanders’ squad primed for this competition, and although many would consider their win over the Galaxy to be an upset, others were aware of the Puerto Rican team’s success in not only the CONCACAF Champions League tournament but also the Caribbean Football Union tournament, which the Islanders won in May.
The Galaxy did not take this competition lightly, as they started US Men’s National Team World Cup players Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle. Although Coach Bruce Arena started a mixture of regulars and veteran backup, their lineup looked formidable. And indeed, the Galaxy dominated much of the match, but it was Puerto Rico that opened the scoring when Englishman David Foley netted in the 25th minute past Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders. Jamaican Nicholas Addlery added a goal for the Naranja Tropa at the end of the first half, giving them a 2-0 lead at intermission.
The second half didn’t get much better for the Galaxy, as Islanders’ American forward Josh Hansen netted in the 56th minute, and Addlery got his brace when he scored in the 80th minute. Bill Gaudette, the Islanders’ veteran goalkeeper, had his clean sheet ruined when an Edson Buddle shot was deflected into the Islanders’ goal. Again, the Galaxy didn’t play poorly, but the Islanders kept their composure and were able to capitalize when they had opportunities.
The Galaxy face an uphill battle to play into the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League tournament, as they will need a big win in the return leg against Puerto Rico. The Islanders appear to be in the driver’s seat to move on.
In other CONCACAF Champions League Tuesday results, Toronto FC dropped Honduran team Motagua at home 1-0 on a Chad Barrett goal, while Cruz Azul got a hat trick from Emmanuel Villa to get a come-from-behind win in Panama against San Francisco in a game delayed by heavy rains. and Mexican Primera team Santos Laguna defeated San Juan Jabloteh of Trindad and Tobago, 1-0 on a goal by beloved veteran Pony Ruiz.
On Wednesday evening, the Seattle Sounders won in front of a Qwest Field crowd of over 17,000. They defeated Isidro Metapan of El Salvador 1-0 on a long shot right before the hour mark, as Freddy Montero, who had just entered the game as a sub for Nate Jacqua, took a free kick pass and skipped a shot that Metapan goalkeeper Misael Alfaro muffed. Veteran Kasey Keller got the clean sheet for the Sounders. Also on Wednesday, Honduran team Marathon shut down Tauro from Panama, 3-0 and Brujas of Costa Rica drew 2-2 with the Joe Public team from Trinidad and Tobago, as Trent Noel scored for Joe Public in stoppage time to get a result.
Thursday evening, CD Fas of El Salvador visity Xelaju of Guatemela. Both teams are making their CONCACAF Champions League debuts. For more information on the CONCACAF Champions League, check out http://www.concacafchampions.com/page/CL/Home/0,,12856,00.html