The LA Galaxy and CS Herediano played to a 0-0 draw in Costa Rica Thursday night, finishing up the first legs of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. There will be plenty to chew on between now and the return leg on Wednesday as the two teams had a called off goal and three crossbar hits between them.
The called off goal will remain the most controversial. Mike Magee was in an onside position when he took Juninho's cross off his torso then blasted the ball home past Herediano's goalie. The assist referee's flag on the opposite side of the field went up. The call was offside, and Magee couldn't believe it.
The Galaxy's other solid chance on goal came just after halftime with Robbie Keane on a breakaway. Mike Magee tried to tap in Keane's cross into the box, but the ball rose enough to clang against the woodwork.
Herediano hit the woodwork twice. Elias Agular's corner kick caught Carlo Cudicini out of position and it was but for the grace of the crossbar that the ball stayed out. It also kept out a controversially given penalty kick.
Ismael Gomez was marked by Sean Franklin in the box, and with but a few fingertips on him dove to the pitch with his feet in the air. He looked back at the ref, mouth open, looking to see if his dive was bought. It was, and Gomez stepped up to take the penalty. It was struck too hard, hit the woodwork, and play carried on.
Unfair penalties and controversial calls are part of life in CONCACAF. Not that it's just or it should happen, but it's what does happen. Railing against bad CONCACAF refereeing is like railing against Santa Claus or the increased commercialization of St. Patrick's Day.
Still, the Galaxy are in a fine position going into Wednesday. They don't have an away goal in their pocket, but they didn't lose anyone to injury and have a week to rest up. Moving forward in the competition is as simple as it was last year, win at home.
Herediano could be without one of their stars for the return leg, as Elias Agular's substitution appeared to be injury related. Many of the Galaxy's issues tonight stemmed from heavy touches, but back at The Home Depot Center they'll have their feet back under them.