The Puerto Rico Islanders traveled to the Home Depot Center in Carson, California to take on reigning MLS Champions LA Galaxy in the group stage of the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday night. The match started poorly for the Islanders as Galaxy youngster Tommy Meyer scored his first career goal in minute seven, winning an aerial duel with Osei Telesford to head the Galaxy in front from a corner kick. Minutes later the Galaxy nearly added to their lead, as Jack McBean’s point blank effort was saved by Richard Martin’s quick reaction.
"Its tough when you play without some key players like Foley, Fana y Hansen, but that’s not an excuse. Tonight we lacked quality, and we simply weren’t good enough. Now the team needs to focus on the game on Saturday at home against a tough rival like the Carolina Railhawks and fight for the number one spot in the NASL," said Head Coach Adrian Whitbread.
The Islanders finally settled into the match around minute 20, stringing together many passes and finding their rhythm. The best Puerto Rico opportunity came around minute 30 when Noah Delgado’s tight angled effort was saved by Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Perk.
Puerto Rico survived the first half trailing only 1-0, but the Galaxy came out of the gates quickly in the second half. Almost immediately after the teams had come out from halftime, the Galaxy doubled their lead. Home-grown midfielder Jose Villarreal scored by muscling off Richard Martinez and poked the ball past Richard Martin who was caught off his line.
The Islanders enjoyed several spells of possession between minutes 65 and 75 but, once Captain Noah Delgado went down in minute 78, the Galaxy exposed the Islanders again scoring twice in rapid succession. McBean finished a nice team goal in minute 80 and, two minutes later, Michael Stephens capitalized on poor defensive play from the Islanders and notched the Galaxy's fourth.
The Islanders now have their work cut out for them in CONCACAF Champions League play, six points behind the Galaxy with two home matches remaining in the group stage.