The LA Galaxy will go to Tijuana for the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal with a 1-0 lead and it's almost entirely thanks to Jaime Penedo. The Galaxy goalkeeper made Samuel's first half goal stand up with a remarkable second half full of tremendous saves and now LA is halfway to a spot in the semifinals.
The home side jumped out to a lead in the 11th minute when a ball over the top found Robbie Keane, who tried to chest the ball down to himself, only to see it get away from him, seemingly to no one. Only it wasn't to no one -- Samuel was rushing in and blasted the ball with his first touch from 12 yards to give LA a 1-0 advantage.
LA stayed on the front foot for the remainder of the half, but despite their possession and ability to get Landon Donovan in space down the left, they couldn't turn it into opportunities at goal. Their next best chance came through Keane, who was able to hop on a mistake by the Xolos defense, but his shot was blocked so the Galaxy had to be content with a one-goal lead at halftime.
The second half looked nothing like the first, with Xolos dominating right from the start and that's when Penedo put his cape on. He made a sprawling save, only to see it didn't matter because it was ruled offside. Not long after, the offside flag didn't go up and Penedo's terrific save on Hernan Pellerano was needed.
Penedo did make one mistake, mis-reading a cross and meekly punching it onto his own defender's foot, but he made up for it. The deflection turned the ball towards goal and Penedo raced back to the goal line to swat it away just inches before it crossed, keeping LA ahead.
Marcelo Sarvas provided Penedo some help in the 68th minute when he cleared a shot off the line, but it really was the Penedo show. After Sarvas' save, things evened out a bit and LA began to get a hold on the match, but they were lucky to still have a lead at that point -- or maybe you can call it shrewd instead of lucky considering that they had Carlo Cudicini a goal a year ago and got Penedo to replace him.
Regardless, this was Penedo's night. The Panamanian stole a win for the Galaxy and the good news for LA is he'll be back in goal next week for the second leg in Tijuana, where they hope they won't need to call on him nearly as much.