Galaxy beats Isidro Metapan 1-0

Laurent Courtois scored an early goal and the Los Angeles Galaxy

beat El Salvador’s Isidro Metapan 1-0 Wednesday night to take

command of their group in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Courtois scored in the sixth minute from a Jose Villarreal pass.

The Galaxy (2-0-0) – playing in a rare 4-3-3 formation, at least

when on attack – posted their second shutout in the competition to

pull ahead of Costa Rica’s Cartagines (1-1-1) atop Group 8.

Los Angeles will reach next year’s quarterfinals with a draw or

victory next week at Cartagines.

Metapan (0-2-1), which will be home against Los Angeles on Oct.

24, was eliminated from contention.

”We’ve played much better this year as a team and lost games,”

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said.

”And this competition, it’s about advancing, and tonight the

most important aspect of this game was getting three points, and

that was accomplished. So we’re in good position to advance – we

still have to earn a point, at least, to advance, so we’ve got a

lot of work ahead.”

Arena, looking ahead to Saturday’s MLS showdown with the Seattle

Sounders, included only a half-dozen regular starters on his 18-man

game roster, and all began the game on the bench.

The Galaxy were sloppy and Metapan’s lack of precision up top

was helpful.

”We’re leaving here satisfied with the result, because our

players did everything they could on the field,” Metapan manager

Jorge Rodriguez said. ”Not everybody can create chances against

the Galaxy.”

Courtois, a 35-year-old Frenchman that Los Angeles picked up in

July from cross-stadium rival Chivas USA, scored his first Galaxy

goal in the sixth minute.

Villarreal took a throw-in from Greg Cochrane on the left wing

next to Metapan’s box and dropped the ball back and into the box

for Courtois, who curled a shot just inside the far post.

Metapan goalkeeper Henry Hernandez made leaping saves on

Courtois in the 19th minute, Chandler Hoffman in the 32nd and

Villarreal in the 53rd.

Los Caleros had several opportunities, but Galaxy goalkeeper

Brian Rowe made a diving stop on a Jose Peraza shot in the 17th

minute and defender Kofi Opare halted a Nicolas Munoz breakaway

just inside Los Angeles’ box in the 83rd.