Samuel scored in the 11th minute and the Los Angeles Galaxy held off Club Tijuana's frantic late push for a 1-0 victory Wednesday night in the first leg of a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series.
Samuel tallied after Marcelo Sarvas' chip into the Club Tijuana box caromed to him off Galaxy captain Robbie Keane's midsection, and goalkeeper Jamie Penedo and midfielder Sarvas made big stops in the second half.
The Galaxy need only a draw or a one-goal loss in which they score in Tuesday's second leg in Tijuana to advance to a semifinal next month against Sporting Kansas City or Mexico City-based Cruz Azul. A 1-0 Tijuana win would force overtime.
Tijuana came closest to scoring in the 61st minute, when Penedo scrambled to knock away a ball rolling toward his net after he misplayed a cross that bounced off Galaxy backline leader Omar Gonzalez, and in the 68th, when Sarvas deflected Javier Gandolfi's header at the right post.