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CONCACAF Champions Cup

Galaxy's late rally falls short in 0-0 tie with Saprissa.

CARSON, Calif. (Thursday, February 23, 2006) -- The Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer shook off a slow start, but was the better team in the second half of a 0-0 draw with Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica tonight in the the first leg of a CONCACAF Champions' Cup quarterfinal series at The Home Depot Center.

Saprissa defender Jervis Drummond, a Costa Rica national, made what turned into a decisive save when he cleared Los Angeles striker Landon Donovan's shot off his goal-line in the 57th minute.

The second leg of the two-game cumulative-goals series will be played in Costa Rica March 8.

L.A. goalkeeper Kevin Hartman made a diving save on an eight-yard header from midfielder Pablo Brenes off a curling cross by defender Tray Bennett in the 12th minute. Hartman and Saprissa keeper Jose Francisco Porras wound up with three saves each.

In the 57th minute, Donovan made along run, flicked the ball over defender Gabriel Badilla, ran past him and went in alone on goal. Dovovan lost control slightly with Porras making the initial save with his thigh. The ball rebounded back to Donovan for a shot that seemed headed for net before Drummond was able to send it safely away.

In the 66th minute, Galaxy striker Herculez Gomez manged to get first to a ball in the crowd, but sent his shot from close range sailing over the crossbar.

In the 71st minute, Donovan fed Gomez who beat Porras to the ball, but knocked his shot from a sharp angle off of the keeper.

Porras was in position to stop reserve forward Alan Gordon's powerful header five minutes later.

In the 80th minute, Saprissa midfielder Cristian Bolanos seemed to have a breakaway, but Galaxy defender Tyrone Marshall chased him down to tackle the ball away as Bolanos shot.

The Galaxy played without two normal starters. Left back Todd Dunivant sat out with a hip pointer, while left midfielder Ned Grababoy was unable to go, suffering from flu-like symptoms. Nate Sturgis replaced Dunivant and Memo Gonzalez took over for Grabavoy with both having problems in the first half with Saprissa trying to exploit their inexperience on the flank.

Saprissa, the defending Champions Cup titlist, won Costa Rica's winter championship last year. The Galaxy won the MLS Cup final in November.

The CONCACAF Champions' Cup determines the club championship for the region that includes North Americam Central America and the Caribbean and has been competed since 1962. The winner advances to the FIFA Club World Championship in Japan.

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