MLS had one team advance on the opening night of the 2019 Leagues Cup alongside one overarching issue. Both the Chicago Fire and the LA Galaxy tested their depth against first choice Liga MX competition and for the Galaxy the gambit worked.
Chicago lost 2-0 to Cruz Azul in front of an announced crowd of 14.213 at SeatGeek Stadium. Roberto Alvarado scored in the 43rd minute with Elias Hernandez doubling the lead in the 90th. Jesus Corona made one save to keep the clean sheet. Chicago Fire coach Veljko Paunovic took issue with questions over his lineup choices.
"We’re trying to put always the best available players on the field, and this is the best lineup we could assemble for today," Paunovic said. "No disrespect to the competition, neither to the opponent and I don’t think I should actually continue with this. The point is that the guys who played today I think they deserve a little bit more respect from you, because they played very good. They put everything on the field, and I don’t think that’s the right way to see things."
The Galaxy advanced on penalties over Club Tijuana in a game that drew an announced crowd of 10,421 at at Dignity Health Sports Park. The game finished 2-2 in regulation. Emmanuel Boateng put LA up in the 27th minute. Ariel Nahuelpan equalized for Tijuana in the 33rd and Washington Camacho scored in the 45th. Dave Romney equalized for the Galaxy in the 54th minute. The Galaxy went a man down with a red card to Julian Araujo in stoppage time.
Moving to penalties, LA goalkeeper Matt Lampson saved a Tijuana penalty in the first round with LA missing in the second. Both teams saw their attempts saved in the third round with Lampson making another save in the fourth. Giancaolo Gonzalez converted LA's fifth penalty to win the game.
"I get paid to make saves," Lampson said. "I'm there to keep the ball out of the net. When I do that, that's just part of the job. I don't need to celebrate. It's up to the rest of the team to put it into the back of the net. I only do half the job and the rest of the team puts it away. I'm just happy to do my part of the job."
The Athletic's Sam Stjeskal talks to Red Bulls sporting director Denis Hamlett about Bradley Wright Phillips. Yahoo Sports' Ryan Bailey asks about the attendance at International Champions Cup games.
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