Out of this world
L.A. Galaxy tops Olimpia 3-2 for CONCACAF title
Updated: Sunday January 21, 2001 8:42 PM
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Cobi Jones thrust the trophy high over his head, beaming. Just behind him, Alexi Lalas pumped his right arm in triumph.
The Los Angeles teammates, two of the most recognizable U.S. soccer players, were celebrating a breakthrough for the Galaxy, a 3-2 victory over Honduras' CD Olimpia in Sunday's final of the CONCACAF Champions' Cup.
The championship was particularly meaningful for the Galaxy, which twice has lost to D.C. United in Major League Soccer's title game and lost the CONCACAF tournament final to Mexico's Cruz Azul in 1997.
Jones, a member of the Galaxy since the team's inception in 1996, and Lalas, who recently ended a one-year retirement to join the team, played significant roles as Los Angeles won the tournament matching the best clubs in North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
"It's very sweet. I don't have to hear any more comments from [U.S. national team coach] Bruce Arena about the Galaxy never winning anything. I can go, 'Here's something for you,'" said Jones, who scored Los Angeles' second goal Sunday.
Lalas was called for a handball in the box, leading to Olimpia's first goal, but the 30-year-old defender set up two scores just moments later.
He grinned and said, "Hopefully the Galaxy will spring for a trophy case so we can build on this. This was great, an opportunity to be a champion of not only a country but of a region."
The Galaxy already had assured itself a spot in this summer's 12-team FIFA Club World Championships in Spain by advancing to the CONCACAF final, beating D.C. United on penalty kicks after the teams tied 1-1 in Friday's semifinal.
In the title game against Olimpia, Ezra Hendrickson, a native of St. Vincent & Grenadines, scored twice for the Galaxy, including the tie-breaking goal in the 78th minute.
Hendrickson scored the Galaxy's third goal off a give-and-go with Mauricio Cienfuegos. Hendrickson, on the left side of the box, passed the ball to Cienfuegos, who tapped it toward the right corner of the box and the charging Hendrickson slammed the ball into the upper left corner of the net.
Lalas assisted on a pair of Galaxy goals in a three-minute span of the first half.
Olimpia's Robert Lima scored on a picture-perfect header in the 51st minute to even the game, played before a crowd of only 8,147 in the 90,000-seat Los Angeles Coliseum.
Just two minutes after he was called for a handball in the 34th minute, Lalas atoned by setting up Hendrickson's first goal.
On that scoring play, Peter Vagenas sent his corner kick from the right side to the left corner of the box, Lalas headed the ball back across to the right side and Hendrickson headed the ball inside the right post.
Three minutes later, Lalas' cross from the right side sailed over the box and Jones, coming down the left wing in full stride, chipped the ball with his left foot and the ball rolled across the mouth of the goal and inches inside the right post for a 2-1 Galaxy lead.
Danilo Tosello gave Olimpia its short-lived 1-0 lead with his penalty kick after the call on Lalas.
In the third-place game, Pachuca CF of Mexico beat D.C. United 2-1. United was the CONCACAF tournament champion in 1998.
Pedro Pineda and Omar Arellano scored first-half goals for Pachuca and goalkeeper Jesus Salvador Alfaro made the lead stand up. He had two saves in the second half after making three in the first.
United tied the score in the 33rd minute on Carey Talley's 35-yard shot.