CARSON, Calif. – Tuesday night at Dignity Health Sports Park was Golazo Night. In the second Leagues Cup Semifinal, Cruz Azul took on the LA Galaxy. The match turned into the Orbelin Pineda show.
Orbelin Pineda Golazo Sends Cruz Azul to Leagues Cup Final
La Maquina played a competitive lineup and match while the MLS side played mostly a reserve lineup. While two of the Galaxy DPs were available for selection, none made the lineup.
Jose Maduena opened the scoring just four minutes into the game. Cruz Azul were fantastic on the wings all night and overwhelmed the Galaxy with their overlapping runs. One of those runs led to a cross from the touchline into the box. Pineda collected then found Maduena at the top of the box, who banked it off the post and in.
The Galaxy struggled throughout the game, absorbing waves on attack from Cruz Azul. Somewhat against the run of play, the Galaxy found an equalizer. Favio Alvarez got the ball to Emil Cuello in the final third. Cuello took a touch to the top of the box. Unmarked, he uncorked a shot to the bottom far corner of the goal frame to make it 1-1.
The Liga MX side continued to be the better side on the second half in terms of chance creation. They found the winner just two minutes into the second half. Yoshimar Yotun found Orbelin Pineda at the top of the box. Marked by Daniel Steres, Pineda took a touch to create space, then curled the ball beautifully into the top far corner.
LA Galaxy couldn’t find a winner despite a great chance on a corner in the final minutes. The match ended 2-1 to Cruz Azul.
Pineda and Alvarez: Pineda was the star of the night with a goal and assist. Young Homegrown Efrain Alvarez played the whole game and had some nice moments.
No stars in Hollywood: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cristian Pavon, and Jonathan dos Santos were all a part of the 23-man roster but did not make the lineup or bench. The Galaxy clearly prioritized league play, to the disappointment of some MLS fans.
All Mexico Final: With Tigres defeating Club America in the other semifinal, it will be an all Mexican final for the first ever Leagues Cup. All other MLS teams were defeated in the first round.