By DAN KARELL
Club Tijuana manager Jorge Almiron must be pleased with the progress of rookie forward Paul Arriola.
The American midfielder found the back of the net for the second consecutive game, a 3-2 victory for Xolos over C.D. Victoria of Honduras in the CONCACAF Champions League on a rainy Tuesday evening in La Ceiba, Honduras. Arriola played the full 90 minutes in the match, and was joined on the field at the end by fellow Americans Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona, and Gregory Garza.
After Arriola put the Mexican club up 1-0 in the 10th minute, veteran forward Diego Olsina finished with a sliding shot into the roof of the net to give Xolos a two-goal advantage. Three minutes after the break, Victoria would cut the deficit in half as Wilmer Crisanto scored a beautiful penalty kick. However, in the 69th minute, Xolos midfielder Cristian Pellerano put the game away with a long-range blast.
Victoria would again reduce the deficit to one with a goal in the 86th minute Fredrickson Elvir but it wouldn’t be enough, giving Xolos their first ever Champions League victory.
Here’s a closer look at the rest of Tuesday’s CCL matches:
KEANE SCORES A BRACE IN GALAXY VICTORY
The Los Angeles Galaxy had no trouble playing their first CONCACAF Champions League match of the season, despite putting in a workmanlike effort just three days prior.
Star forward Robbie Keane scored two second-half goals to defeat Costa Rican side Cartagines, 2-0, at the StubHub Center on Tuesday evening. The goals give Keane five in his last two games, after he exploded with a hat-trick against Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
Keane nearly opened the scoring in the first half when he beautifully controlled a ball into the box with his chest, though his volleyed strike went over the bar. The Republic of Ireland international wouldn’t be denied though in the 67th minute when he created space from his defender, controlled a chip from teammate Landon Donovan, and scored under Cartagines goalkeeper Wardy Alfaro to take the lead.
The 33-year-old added his and the game’s second in stoppage-time when he beat the Cartagines offside trip, scoring easily past Alfaro to put the game away.
DYNAMO DRAW W CONNECTION ON THE ROAD
With a number of their first team regulars either on the bench of back in Houston, the Houston Dynamo eked out a scoreless draw at W Connection on Tuesday evening.
The match, played at the spacious Hasely Crawford Stadium, was one that lacked rhythm, as the Dynamo reserve squad never looked to get things moving and the Trinidadian club still working out the kinks in their lineup as they work through preseason. Brian Ching and Cam Weaver earned starts for the Dynamo, but neither would have been too happy with their work. Weaver in particular missed two solid chances on goal.
W Connection came so close to pulling out a shocking victory in the 81st minute when midfielder Neal Benjamin was inside the six-yard box with the goal at his mercy, though his late chance was surprisingly put wide of goal.
The Dynamo left Will Bruin, Brad Davis, Oscar Boniek Garcia, Corey Ashe, and Ricardo Clark back in Houston to rest and prepare for a big road match with the Montreal Impact on Saturday. Though they didn’t win, the Dynamo did see the debut of new signing Alex Lopez, who went the full 90.
What did you think of Tuesday’s matches? Do you see Tijuana winning their group? Do you believe anyone can challenge the Galaxy in CCL matches at home? Do you see the Dynamo picking up points in their next match?
Share your thoughts below.