Giovani dos Santos scored on his debut as the LA Galaxy took little effort to defeat an overmatched Central FC side Thursday night in CONCACAF Champions League group stage play.
#LAGalaxy starting XI: Rowe; Gargan, Romney, Meyer, Garcia; Maganto, Walker, Vayrynen, Mendiola; Gordon, Zardes #SCCL pic.twitter.com/b3pdjl6HSk— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) August 7, 2015
Right away, Raul Mendiola played a cross in from the left flank that Ignacio "Nacho" Maganto anticipated well, but his header inside the box was high.
Maganto made up for the miss a minute later, stealing the ball in the midfield and finding Gyasi Zardes making a run down the field, and with the keeper cheating towards his near post, Zardes launched a composed chip that Gordon easily met first to nod home.
Controversy struck minutes later when Brian Rowe appeared to cleanly beat Willis Plaza, but the referee pointed to the spot. Rowe dove correctly, but attacker Ataullela Guerra managed to squeeze the attempt into the bottom right corner of the net.
Nacho Maganto was a busy man, as the 2015 SuperDraft pick knocked a Central FC attacker off the ball, turned and ran before intelligently slotting Alan Gordon in alone on goal, but goalkeeper Jan Michael-Williams managed to make the save.
Eventually, the Galaxy scored the second goal when Gyasi Zardes sent a long ball over the top, and Raul Mendiola made his finish look easy, rounding the keeper before tapping into an empty net.
The second half was more of the same as LA searched for more goals while a fatigued Central FC side struggled to hang in the match. In the 54th minute, the Galaxy earned a penalty of their own when Alan Gordon was tripped up near the touchline. Zardes stepped up and expertly placed a side-footed shot into the right corner.
The most anticipated moment of the night was soon upon the Galaxy faithful as new Designated Player and Mexican international Giovani dos Santos replaced Alan Gordon in the 57th minute to a stunning ovation.
Kenny Walker did brilliantly to thwart a Central FC counter-attack soon afterwards, fully stretching his body to block an open shot inside the box.
With the Galaxy basically camped inside the Central FC part of the field, LA probed for more. After a flurry of close chances, Dos Santos gave the raucous crowd what they came to see, slightly redirecting a pass from close range past the Central FC keeper, off the post and into the net for Gio's first goal as a member of the Galaxy
The match calmed down at this point, but not before Nacho Maganto managed to finish off a slick Sebastian Lletget pass in the 84th minute to complete the rout for LA.
The Galaxy next face Guatemalan powerhouse Comunicaciones in CONCACAF Champions League group stage play Thursday Aug. 18th at the StubHub Center.