Facebook Twitter

Lalas leads Galaxy to CONCACAF title

Recently unretired Lalas records two assists vs. Olimpia

SHARE Lalas leads Galaxy to CONCACAF title

LOS ANGELES — Ezra Hendrickson's second goal of the game snapped a tie in the 78th minute, and Alexi Lalas set up two scores as the Los Angeles Galaxy beat CD Olimpia of Honduras 3-2 Sunday for the CONCACAF Champions' Cup title.

The Galaxy, twice a finalist but never a champion in Major League Soccer's championship game, already was assured a spot in the FIFA Club World Championships in Spain this summer.

Hendrickson, a native of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, scored the Galaxy's final goal off a give-and-go with Mauricio Cienfuegos. Hendrickson, on the left side of the box, passed the ball to Cienfuegos, who tapped it toward the right corner of the box and the charging Hendrickson slammed the ball into the upper left corner of the net.

Lalas, who ended a one-year retirement recently by joining the Galaxy, was called for a handball, leading to Olimpia's first goal. But he then assisted on a pair of Galaxy scores in a three-minute span of the first half.

Winning its first significant title of any kind, the Galaxy was a finalist in the 1997 CONCACAF tournament, losing to Cruz Azul of Mexico in the final match.

Olimpia's Robert Lima scored on a picture-perfect header in the 51st minute to even the game, played before a crowd of some 8,000 in the 90,00-seat Los Angeles Coliseum.

Merlin Membreno, on the left wing, curled a pass across the center of the box and Lima, running full speed some 10 years in front of the goal, leaped high and drove the ball into the upper right corner of the net. Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman had no chance on the play.

Just two minutes after he was called for a handball in the box in the 34th minute, Lalas atoned for his mistake by setting up Hendrickson's first goal.

On that scoring play, Peter Vagenas sent his corner kick from the right side to the left corner of the box, Lalas headed the ball back across to the right side and Hendrickson headed the ball inside the right post.

Three minutes later, Lalas' cross from the right side sailed over the box and Cobi Jones, coming down the left wing in full stride, chipped the ball with his left foot and the ball rolled across the mouth of the goal and just inches inside the right post for a 2-1 Galaxy lead.

Danilo Tosello gave Olimpia its short-lived 1-0 lead with his penalty kick after the call on Lalas.

In the third-place game, Pachuca CF of Mexico beat Major League Soccer's D.C. United 2-1. United was the CONCACAF tournament champion in 1998.

Pedro Pineda and Omar Arellano scored first-half goals for Pachuca and goalkeeper Jesus Salvador Alfaro made that 2-1 halftime lead stand up. He had two saves in the second half after making three in the first.

Pachuca scored what proved to be the winning goal in the 38th minute, as Arellano took Cesareo Victorino's pass and put an 8-yard shot diagonally past United goalkeeper Tom Presthus.

Pachuca opened the scoring in the 14th minute as Francisco Ferreira collected a loose ball off a corner kick at the top of the penalty area and chipped toward the back post where Pineda put a 7-yard shot past Presthus.

United tied the score in the 33rd minute on Carey Talley's 35-yard shot.

Arellano was one of two Pachuca players ejected late in the game after each drew his second yellow card. Luis Alfonso Sosa was sent off in the 81st minute and Arelleno in the 88th minute.

Presthus had only one save.