Four spectacular goals, two within a span of 90 seconds, earned the Galaxy a 4-1 victory over Santos Laguna of Mexico Wednesday night and a place in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Cup of Champions.
All in all, it was a superb performance by the Galaxy, one that kept the Rose Bowl crowd of 10,271 entertained throughout and, equally important, one that is likely to have earned the Major League Soccer team considerable respect south of the border.
“I’m not too sure how our Mexican friends are going to feel about us beating both of their champions within the space of a month,” Danny Villanueva, the Galaxy’s general manager, said, grinning.
Earlier in July, the Galaxy defeated Chivas of Guadalajara on penalty kicks at Soldier Field in Chicago. Guadalajara won Mexico’s summer championship. Santos Laguna, of Torreon, was the winter-title winner in the Mexican League’s split-season system.
The game’s opening goal, in the 64th minute, was created by an excellent double give-and-go series of passes between Mauricio Cienfuegos and Eduardo Hurtado. The ball then was sent wide to Cobi Jones on the right and he passed it back for Cienfuegos to blast into the net from 20 yards.
Less than 90 seconds later, a long downfield kick sent Hurtado and Santos Laguna goalkeeper Jose Miguel Zavadlavd in pursuit of the ball. Hurtado won, lofting an improbable shot over the keeper and into the net.
Santos Laguna scored in the 69th minute on a 30-yard shot by Nicolas Cecena, but the Galaxy responded with a goal by Martin Machon in the 80th minute, and four minutes later, Welton danced past several defenders before slipping a shot just inside the left post.
The victory puts the Galaxy into a quarterfinal against Luis Angel Firpo of El Salvador on Aug. 13 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
The CONCACAF Cup of Champions annually pits the club champions and runners-up from countries in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Jaime Moreno and Raul Diaz Arce each scored two goals and Washington D.C. United beat the Columbus Crew, 4-2, in Major League Soccer before 11,504 at RFK Stadium in Washington.