[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Not for the first time an MLS club has lost to a presumably inferior foe in the Concacaf Champions League. But this was most
humiliating defeat of them all.
The league-leading Los Angeles Galaxy -- with U.S. World Cup stars Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle playing the entire game -- was spanked by the Puerto Rico Islanders -- tied for last in their D-2 Pro League conference -- in the first leg of their preliminary-round series.
The 4-1 defeat means the Galaxy will have to make the long trek to Bayamon for next Wednesday's second leg at the Estadio Juan Ramon Loubriel, even though the odds of advancing to the group stage are slim.
MLS teams are 1-4 in preliminary round series since the Concacaf tournament was launched. The worst loss was suffered by the New England Revolution in 2008 when it fell to Western Connection of Trinidad & Tobago after 2-1 (away) and 4-0 (at home) losses. (The only winner, D.C. United, needed a shootout to beat Luis Angel Firpo.)
The Islanders, coached by former FC Dallas boss Colin Clarke, are no strangers to the Concacaf Champions League.
In the tournament's first year, they reached the semifinals. Last year, they knocked out Toronto FC in the preliminary round. To qualify for the 2010-11 preliminary round, they won the CFU Club Champions Cup, the Caribbean club championship, leaving themselves with a late start in the D-2 Pro League from which they have yet to recover.
The Islanders started five players with MLS experience, including Jamaican-born Nicholas Addlery, who scored two goals, and goalie Bill Gaudette, who made 11 saves.
Josh Hansen, whose blast from almost 30 yards gave the Islanders a 3-0 lead early in the second half, was signed by the Galaxy to a development contract in 2006 but never played for the first team in an MLS match.
While the Islanders converted all four shots on goal, the Galaxy could only score on a late own goal by New York-born Puerto Rico international Richard Martinez.
Ironically, the Galaxy keeper, backup Josh Saunders, is a former Islander. Born in Oregon, Saunders played his college ball at Cal State Fullerton and California but represented Puerto Rico's national team after joining the Islanders from the Galaxy, at which he was waived.
Saunders has been the No. 2 behind Donovan Ricketts for the last two seasons.
The news out of Toronto was a little better for MLS. Toronto FC beat Motagua of Honduras -- featuring former TFC star Amado Guevara -- 1-0.
July 27 in Carson, Calif.
Los Angeles Galaxy 1 Puerto Rico Islanders 4. Goals: Own goal 82; Foley 26, Addlery 45, 81, Hansen 55.
Los Angeles -- Saunders, Berhalter (Alex Cazumba, 64), Franklin, Leonardo, DeLaGarza (Stephens, 39), Birchall, Donovan, Lewis, Juninho, Gordon (Bowen, 64), Buddle.
Puerto Rico -- Gaudette, Horst, Velez, Jones, Martinez, Delgado (Villaroel, 72), Telesford, Nurse, Hansen (Emory, 87), Addlery, Foley (Jagdeosingh, 77).