BY ADAM SERRANO
CARSON, Calif — The Los Angeles Galaxy got off to a roaring start in the CONCACAF Champions League with a 2-0 victory over Club Motagua in their group A opener on Tuedsay night at Home Depot Center.
Adam Cristman and Landon Donovan tallied for the Galaxy, but Los Angeles was wasteful in front of next squandering several opportunties to extend their lead over the Honduran club. With the victory, the Galaxy extended a 15-game unbeaten streak at the Home Depot Center, a place that they have not lost at this season.
Although the Galaxy picked up the victory, there was still a feeling that more could have been done against the Hondurans.
"They came and put us under pressure, we did a pretty good job of getting out of it and as the game wore on, you could tell we were the fresher team, we just wore them out over 90 minutes," said Donovan. "The goal is clearly to get points at home, we know that goal differential can come into play later and if there's anything to be critical of it's that we weren't clinicial in front of the goal."
Motagua put the Galaxy under pressure early, coming out playing an open game against the Galaxy. The Galaxy took the lead in the 13th minute when a Juninho pass unlocked the Motagua defense allowing right back AJ DeLaGarza to break free and send in a cross to the waiting Cristman. With the Motagua goalkeeper out of position, Cristman easily placed the ball into the net.
Los Angeles controlled the action for much of the match and broke through for their second in the 60th minute goal from Donovan. After a turnover in midfield by Motagua, David Beckham broke free and lashed a cross that fell to the Galaxy captain, who doubled Los Angeles' lead. Just ten minutes later, the Hondurans went down to 10 men after former MLSer Ivan Guerrero struck Sean Franklin in the chest with his boot.
In the 74th minute, the Hondurans had their best chance of the night as Jerry Bengtson found himself bgehind the Galaxy defense and fired a shot that forced a leg save by Saunders. The Galaxy goalkeeper was forced to make another sweeping leg save just moments later to quell Motagua's efforts. With five matches still to go, Motagua are aware that they must rebound from the loss at the Home Depot Center.
"We were lacking percision and clarity in what we were doing on the field, that allowed the Galaxy to get momentum," said Motagua head coach Ramón Maradiaga. "The home teams have the advantage in these group games, so we will have to adjust in our next match on the road."
With their victory, the Galaxy move to the top of Group A after the first match day as Costa Rican club Alajuelense defeated Morelia 1-0 in Costa Rica. Los Angeles will host the Costa Ricans next Thursday while Motagua travels to Mexico to face Monarcas.
"Teams are expected to win at home, it could be very interesting," said Donovan. "There's not a lot that seperates these four teams so it's going to be an interesting game next week, but it's one that we have to win."
Here are the match highlights: