Galaxy stumbles in CCL finale

Galaxy stumbles in CCL finale

LA's 4-0 loss to Metapan on Thursday puts the Galaxy in the sixth seed in the Champions League quarterfinals.

The LA Galaxy finished off the Group Stage matches in the CONCACAF Champions League on Thursday and while the team had already qualified for the tournament quarterfinals with wins in the first three matches of the competition, a 4-0 defeat to El Salvador’s Isidro Metapan has the Galaxy as the No. 6 seed in the Championship Stage.

Los Angeles coasted through the first three matches in the Group Stage, outscoring Metapan and CS Cartigines from Costa Rica 6-0 to clinch a spot in the quarterfinals. Head Coach Bruce Arena sent mostly a reserve squad to El Salvador and Metapan took advantage. Nico Munoz opened the scoring in the 29th minute and followed up with goals in the 31st, 33rd and 41st minutes, giving the veteran forward four goals for Metapan’s only victory of the tournament.

The Galaxy lineup featured regular starters Juninho, who is suspended for Sunday’s match against Sounders FC for yellow card accumulation and AJ DeLaGarza, but was otherwise made up of players with 14 starts or fewer in 2013. LA left behind its core of veteran stars, resting them for the regular season finale at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.

The result means that Los Angeles will meet Tijuana in the quarterfinals in March, as the Galaxy finished as the top MLS team to qualify for the Championship Stage, ahead of seventh-seed Sporting Kansas City and eighth-seed San Jose Earthquakes. The Houston Dynamo were eliminated with a 1-0 defeat to Arabe Unido of Panama on Thursday.

Kansas City will face Cruz Azul in the quarterfinals while San Jose meets top-ranked Toluca, pitting all of the MLS teams against Mexican opponents in the two-leg, aggregate goal series.

Last year, Sounders FC was the first MLS team to knock off a Mexican opponent in the Champions League Championship Stage, topping Tigres 3-2 in the quarterfinals before falling to Santos Laguna in the semifinals. The Galaxy lost to Monterrey in the semifinals last season and is the only club from last year’s final four teams in the tournament.

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