The LA Galaxy defeated the Puerto Rico Islanders 4-0 at The Home Depot Center Wednesday night to stay atop Group 5 of the CONCACAF Champions League. This concludes the Galaxy's home portion of the group stage, their next two CCL matches will be on the road; one in September in Puerto Rico and one in October in El Salvador. The Galaxy had a sellout crowd though at a capped capacity of 7,500.
The opening goal and match winner came in the 7'. Anthony Vazquez of Puerto Rico conceded a corner kick, that was taken by Kenny Walker. Walker's corner kick went far post where Tommy Meyer was standing unmarked to head it into the back of the net.
The second goal came just after haltime, when Jack McBean headed a ball forward from about the midway line. Jose Villarreal got on the ball, dribbled it forward and around Puerto Rico's keeper. This all while being taken down by a defender. Villarreal managed to get a foot on it, and the ball rolled into the bottom right corner of the net from outside the penalty area.
Villarreal took a knock on that play and wouldn't return. The match also saw the return of Edson Buddle from his knee surgery, replacing Pat Noonan in the 71'.
The Galaxy didn't let up in the matches dying embers, scoring two goals in two minutes after the eightieth minute. Michael Stephens found Jack McBean alone in the penalty area for the first one. McBean's first attempt was blocked but he put away the followup. Michael Stephens then put in the fourth goal himself, a center of the box shot to the bottom left corner.
It was extremely important for the Galaxy going forward to take this match and so emphatically, showing their depth can get the job done when called upon. Bruce Arena not trusting his depth cost the Galaxy their bid in the 2011-12 CCL, and here recent draft picks were able to give David Beckham a breather.
Michael Stephens and Jose Villarreal are coming into their own as future stars. Hector Jimenez is still spotty, but the reserve back line looked great. This likely isn't the last time the reserves will be counted on to get the Galaxy through CCL. In traveling to Puerto Rico and El Salvador, the reserves are going to have to relieve the senior squad if the Galaxy aim to keep their legs healthy.
As it is, the Galaxy have managed to navigate three matches in a week without their captain. It's a commendable feet. Hopefully it's a sign of things to come. Next up for the Galaxy is Vancouver on Saturday, as they continue to try staying up in the Western Conference playoff standings.