Final: Galaxy at San Jose Earthquakes

This is one of these games that could represent turning points in the season – for both teams.

Will Galaxy GM Alexi Lalas have a job come Tuesday?

The final score was 3-2 Earthquakes, with the winner coming from Ryan Cochrane in the 89th minute.

While the timing of the goal must have felt like a knife in the gut to the now 6-8-5 Galaxy, the winner was no more than San Jose deserved.

The Galaxy chased the entire game with Steve Cronin’s failure to hold (yet again) two shots in quick succession leading to the deciding goal.

Virtually all the familiar Galaxy foibles were on display in fact:

*A failure to play a complete (or even half) a game.

*Few offensive ideas (and can Alan Gordon get any slower?).

*A static defense with Greg Vanney culpable on the opening goal, Chris Klein (did he slip?) and Sean Franklin at fault for the second and half the team scrambling to no avail to keep out the chaotic third.

*And a failure to close down attackers, especially a rampant Darren Huckerby, who scored on a superb individual effort just before half time and also created the fine first goal after just four minutes by Arturo Alvarez.

The Galaxy, as unlikely as it seemed, came back two minutes later via a Landon Donovan header from a David Beckham cross, while Edson Buddle supplied the 76th minute equalizer, a lovely cutback leaving two defenders sprawled in his wake before he buried a 19-yard shot.

Galaxy PR folks indicate they’ll call me back in an hour or so from the reserve game that’s on this afternoon, so hopefully I can talk to a player or two then.

A couple of notes while I wait for a call back:
*Eduardo Dominguez, the new Argentine defender who is the replacement for the waived Abel Xavier and then proceeded to have a nightmare in his debut against Dallas, was benched.

*Ex-Chivas USA midfielder Mike Munoz (who played all of five minutes with the team, but is perhaps best known for his girlfriend – a producer on Ryan Seacrest’s show – waging a campaign to get him re-signed) was on the Galaxy bench.

*Donovan’s goal was his league-leading 13th of the campaign; Buddle’s was his 12th and he’s second in the league in scoring.

Back with more later.

Updated:
Guess not.

“No one really wants to talk right now,” said a team spokesman in response to my request for an interview with a player or two.

I don’t blame them.

Updated:
David Beckham in the post-game press conference:

“It was disappointing to lose right at the end, but I think that what we can take from this game is that it was 100 percent better than last game. We showed some character. We fought back so that’s what we need to take from this game. It’s always disappointing to lose any game especially when you lose in the last couple of minutes.”

Game story.

Highlights:

More on the Galaxy’s ultimatum and the possibility of signing defender Cory Gibbs here.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email
  • Haggis

    Becks hasn’t been himself lately on the pitch. What type of injury is he playing through?

    Nick replies: I think he has a strained Armani (ahem). I’ll check. Stand by.

  • Inigo Montoya

    Full disclosure: I only saw the game from the 40th minute. But two things stuck out.

    First, this is not the San Jose Earthquakes of a month ago. They were faster, better on the ball, and more organized in attack than before. Huckerby or whatever, they’re not a bad team. It made for a more watchable game.

    Second, the Galaxy showed _some_ signs of life in the midfield and up front in the last 50 minutes. No consistency whatsoever, but there were passages of organized movement and some creativity on attacks. I was particularly surprised to see Beckham moving to the left so much in support of Randolph and others (who didn’t do much with the service).

    The back was pretty awful. Slow to the point of being reduced to Vanney simply grabbing people as they ran by him.

    And was it just me, or did the wind from left to right seem to be something the Galaxy could never adapt to? Cronin’s punts went uncharacteristically long beyond attackers, as did lots of passes and crosses from Beckham and others. Weird. No excuse for that if they’re pros.

    Last, Nick, what’s up with Sean Franklin? So promising in early games, but that injury seems to have subdued him somehow.

    Nick replies: His confidence looks shot to me.

  • Iniquez

    It is not the defense, it is the midfield!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There have been no signs of life all year!

    Where is Nobby Solano?

  • Joseph DHippolito

    Regarding the earlier question about who’s running the Galaxy: Nobody.

    Leiweke made it perfectly clear that he’s going to let Lalas, Bravo and Gullit make the decisions. That’s what’s called “plausable deniability.” It’s how Leiweke will save his sorry posterior.

    If Lalas isn’t getting along w/Gullit, then he should be fired. This is the second instance in which Lalas couldn’t get along w/a coach (the first being Yallop).

    BTW, if you want to express your comments to the people who matter, then send them to:

    alalas@aegworldwide.com

    or

    tleiweke@aegworldwide.com

  • Joseph DHippolito

    BTW, you should read Jonah Freeman’s article in SI.com:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jonah_freedman/08/03/galaxy/index.html

    Very interesting…

    My two cents: The *first* person to go should be Leiweke. He’s the one who hired Lalas. More importantly, he’s the one who fosters this atmosphere of intimidation and constant pressure that saps the potential for excellence. Why do you think Lalas made all those trades when he first got hired? He was under pressure to please Uncle Tim, der Obergruppenfuerher.

  • Joseph DHippolito

    One final point…

    Here’s an extremely pertinent comment from Thom on Ives Galarcep’s blog:

    On a personal note: I think Lalas is a slick, vacuous corporate charlatan in the classic sense and this comes from someone who has spent 20 years in corporate America. I have had the unfortunate experience to know too many like him and their self promotion never equals what they actually contribute to the end products betterment. He talks about metrics and marketing foot prints on non-soccer related shows when he should be engaged in far more serious endeavors like actually improving the product that the Galaxy is ultimately selling-not the packaging and bells and whistles it comes with. The product has lovely, eye catching bells and whistles but once you get past the glitz and pizzazz it is quite apparent it ultimately doesnt function very well at all.

    How right you are, Thom, how right you are….