Fast starts saw LA Galaxy and Herediano both claim three points to begin their respective CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) campaigns.
It took Herediano just three minutes to open the scoring in their 3-0 win over Isidro Metapan, while the Galaxy took just a minute longer in their 5-1 victory against Central.
The two results saw the Galaxy and Herediano move to the top of Group D and B, respectively, on the opening week of the CCL’s group stage.
Gyasi Zardes was the main man for the Galaxy at the Stubhub Center on Thursday, setting up two goals and scoring the hosts’ third against their Trinidad and Tobago-based opposition, while Giovani dos Santos scored on debut for LA.
In the fourth minute, Zardes picked out Alan Gordon at the back post but Central were level two minutes later, after being awarded a dubious penalty.
Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe appeared to have judged his challenge perfectly when he smothered the ball at the feet of an opposition player, but the referee pointed to the spot.
Ataullah Guerra converted the penalty but the home side were back in front by half-time thanks to Raul Mendiola’s 32nd-minute strike, with the winger bursting onto Zardes’ through ball to score.
Zardes wrapped up the Galaxy’s win in the 55th minute, scoring from the spot after Gordon was barged over in the box.
New signing Dos Santos made his Galaxy debut when he replaced Gordon two minutes later and hit the back of the net with 14 minutes remaining, while Ignacio Maganto completed the scoring in the 85th minute.
In Costa Rica, Herediano were 2-0 up in seven minutes, with Jonathan Hansen poking Kenny Cunningham’s cross into the net before Randall Azofeifa struck following a one-two with Oscar Granados.
Cunningham extended the home side’s lead just before the hour-mark, chipping visiting goalkeeper Henry Hernandez after being played through by Elias Aguilar.