Neither the LA Galaxy nor Santos Laguna could find the breakthrough as they settled for a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series, a result which leaves the tie delicately balanced ahead of next week’s crucial second leg.
The Galaxy had two chances to take the lead in the opening minutes, but Agustín Marchesín came up with two big saves to deny the hosts, most notably stopping Jelle van Damme’s header following a corner kick. As time wore on, Santos got more and more into the game and began to create chances of their own, but Dan Kennedy was equally up to the task in LA’s goal.
In the second half, chances dwindled as both teams struggled to create dangerous opportunities in the final third. Santos Laguna’s midseason form began to show, though, as the field tilted slowly but surely in favor of the visitors. Giovani dos Santos was called on to help Kennedy preserve the shutout when he cleared a shot by Bryan Rabello off the line in the 69th minute.
Diego Hernán González had a golden opportunity of his own in the final minutes, but he couldn’t convert; and after picking up a yellow card tonight, “Pulpo” will sit out the second leg due to yellow card accumulation.
With the 0-0 draw, the second leg will be a winner-takes-all affair; should the two teams draw again, another goalless game would send the series to extra time while any other draw (1-1, 2-2, etc.) would see the Galaxy advance thanks to the away goal tiebreaker.
LA Galaxy: Dan Kennedy, Ashley Cole, Robbie Rogers, AJ DeLaGarza, Jelle van Damme, Steven Gerrard, Nigel de Jong, Gyasi Zardes, Emmanuel Boateng (Sebastian Lletget 66′), Giovani dos Santos (Mike Magee 86′), Robbie Keane.
Santos: Agustín Marchesín, José Javier Abella, Néstor Araujo, Carlos Izquierdoz, Jesús Molina, Diego Hernán González, Bryan Rabello (Ulises Dávila 86′), Néstor Calderón, Jorge Villafaña, Martín Bravo (Javier Orozco 68′), Luis Mendoza (Diego de Buen 92′).