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LA Galaxy draw Central FC, advance to SCCL quarterfinals

Vital road point means Galaxy seal Group D win

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Alan Gordon scored late as a second-string Galaxy squad overcame a sluggish performance in attack to draw Central 1-1 in CONCACAF Champions League group play Wednesday night at Hasley Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

The LA Galaxy left many of their stars at home, with Omar Gonzalez, Gyasi Zardes, Steven Gerrard, Giovani dos Santos and Robbie Keane not making the trip to Trinidad and Tobago.

Things couldn't have gone much worse for LA to begin the match. In the 2nd minute, lone forward Willis Plaza sprinted behind the Galaxy back line with acres of space and calmly waited for the ball to settle before superbly smashing a low shot past Brian Rowe into the bottom left corner of the net.

Soon afterwards, Baggio Husidic was forced to limp out of the game with an ankle injury.

LA's makeshift lineup struggled to generate any offense as a bumpy surface and dogged Central FC side featuring five defenders made it difficult for a disjointed Galaxy attack to get anything going in the final third. LA had their first chance in the 11th when Edson Buddle almost got on the end of a Galaxy cross.

Mika Vayrynen had the best chance in the first half, firing a rocket from 25 yards out that required goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams to make a brilliant fingertip save. 

Jose Villarreal was inserted into the match for Edson Buddle and sparked life into the Galaxy attack. In the 69th minute, Villarreal shot a powerful free kick that Williams again tipped over the bar, then on the ensuing corner, Tommy Meyer had an open header at the near post but the attempt was deflected.

Finally in the 82nd minute, the Galaxy tied up the match. Ignacio "Nacho" Maganto eluded a few Central FC defenders and snaked inside the box before calmly tapping to substitute Raul Mendiola with space inside the six-yard box, and Mendiola squared to Alan Gordon for a tap-in to give the Galaxy a vital road point.