Club Tijuana vs. LA Galaxy: Final score 4-2, Xolos hang on to advance 4-3 on aggregate

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Galaxy finished strong, but it wasn't enough to make up for Xolos' early bombardment and Tijuana is semifinal bound.

Club Tijuana hit the LA Galaxy early, and by the time the Galaxy came to, they were 3-0 down. Not even the Galaxy's late rally could save them, as they had been outplayed by a better team away, which is almost always the case when MLS teams go to Mexico. Xolos found themselves with a 4-2 win (4-3 on aggregate) that has them bound for the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals.

The Galaxy knew they would have to defend better than they did in the first leg if they wanted to advance. While they did win 1-0 at home, it was only because of the exploits of Jaime Penedo, and that wouldn't fly in Mexico.

It didn't.

They Galaxy were asleep from the start and the defense was a mess, so within a minute Tijuana had brought the tie level at 1-1 on aggregate. A missed clearance, lackadaisical defending and non-existent awareness on LA's part allowed Jaime Ayovi to get a look at goal from right in front and he did not miss, slotting the equalizer home.

Eight minutes later, Ayovi struck again to put Xolos in front, and the Galaxy were in total shambles. If that wasn't bad enough, Dario Benedetto scored in the 26th minute to make it 3-0 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate.

It wasn't as if Xolos had just hopped on a few opportunities either. They dominated the match, had all of the chances and had even hit the crossbar on two occasions, so they weren't far off from a 5-0 lead. It was a total manhandling, and at that point, the match looked over.

The Galaxy were happy just to get into halftime, and in the second half they finally made things competitive. Two minutes after the break, Robbie Keane scored and the Galaxy were back within a goal. They may have been down 3-2 on aggregate, but with their away goal, all they needed was a draw to advance.

Xolos still had their chances after the break, but the Galaxy had evened things out. Tijuana never thought about defending their lead with 10 men behind the ball either, instead looking for another goal, and in the 82nd minute they got it. Richard Ruiz found the net and Xolos looked to have wrapped up a win, but then Keane scored his second three minutes later and it was a one-goal tie yet again.

LA had several chances to get level in the final minutes as they got crosses and free kicks into the box, where Keane, Rob Friend and Omar Gonzalez had looks at goal to earn them a spot in the semis, but it was not to be. Tijuana was able to clear each ball and hold on for the win.

Xolos will play the winner of the tie between Sporting Kansas City and Cruz Azul in the semifinal, with the final leg set in two weeks. Sporting lead 1-0 heading into the second leg at Cruz Azul.

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