And this meant something.
Bruce Arena fielded a somewhat — though not very — weakened team against the USL conference’s basement dwellers and most likely expected to end up taking a comfortable lead down to Bayamon for the return leg. He won’t be.
The Islanders went on to smash the Galaxy 4 goals to 1, and LA didn’t even have the pleasure of putting the ball in the net, Islanders defender Martinez may have been feeling sorry for them when he scored a terrible own goal.
It was an almost mind boggling match in which the Galaxy dominated possession and every other measurable offensive statistic other than the only one that actually means anything. But this isn’t out of character for Puerto Rico, they often play Champions League matches like this, relying on an organized defense and the incredible goalkeeping of Bill Guadette while waiting to spring a counter attack. Colin Clarke’s tactics worked to perfection tonight as his Islanders took their chances well.
The result is especially frustrating when you consider the victories scored by Major League Soccer teams against European opposition in friendlies this weekend, while they are only friendlies you’d like to think that the results show a degree of improvement among MLS teams but it’s hard to say that when the league’s best team gets throttled by a second division team from its own federation.
Why does it seem like every year we have to talk about MLS teams failing in official competitions?
Since I don’t want to end this on doom and gloom I will mention Toronto’s result tonight. 1–0 against Motagua is nothing to sneeze at, the Honduran league is stronger than many people may like to believe and I firmly believe that TFC has what it takes to at least manage a draw in Tegucigalpa, but it won’t be an easy task.
Congrats to Puerto Rico on a well deserved win, while they haven’t finished off the Galaxy yet, they’ve given their opponents a very tough road to travel.