An evening that started so promisingly for the Galaxy before the largest crowd — more than 20,000 — ever to watch a CONCACAF Champions League in Carson ended with their capitulation at the tail end of the contest that allowed Monterrey to score twice in the closing eight minutes to swipe a victory and take a seemingly insurmountable advantage in the two-game series.
And the Galaxy only had themselves to blame:
#lagalaxy back four “very poor” in last 10 mins, said Bruce Arena.
Staff Writer Phil Collin has the game story. One clarification to the article: away goals count double if the game is tied on aggregate. Thus the Galaxy can win the series with a 2-0 win in Mexico (2-3 on aggregate), but they need to win by two clear goals whatever the score.
Defender A.J. DeLaGarza sounded a hopeful note on Twitter, but his sheepish post-game reaction suggests an Arena tongue-lashing in the locker room after the game:
The 1-0 scoreline did not adequately reflect the dominance of the Mexican visitors who were clearly superior to a Sounders team struggling with an insipid start to the season.
If the Galaxy are looking for crumbs of comfort they can point to a poor recent away record in Liga MX play for the visitors and their own firepower that has sizzled to start the season as I pointed out in this week’s column.
An entertaining, virtuoso performance over an admittedly inferior opponent that showcased the Galaxy’s abundant pipeline of young, local attacking talent wrote another page of club history tonight in Carson.
It’s the sort of tuneup for a derby managers dream about and another early season indication the Galaxy are in a confident, purposeful mood.
Accomplished goals by Inglewood’s Jose Villarreal — who received a standing ovation from a crowd aware it was witnessing a special, blossoming talent as he came off late in the game — and Newport Beach’s Jack McBean were highlights, but wiley Robbie Keane led by example and helped himself to a goal, too.
Vacationing Galaxy playmaker Landon Donovan will return to the club the week of March 24, coach Bruce Arena confirmed Monday — albeit somewhat reluctantly.
Citing burnout, Donovan had requested additional time off and used it to head to Cambodia for a vacation as the MLS season began. The club had said the last week of March was his projected return date, but this is the first time a specific date was mentioned. Since the Galaxy customarily take the Sunday following a game off, Donovan is expected back on Monday, March 25, Arena indicated.
“He’s filed for social security benefits and discovered he’s too young for them at the moment,” quipped Arena.
The announcement came as the Galaxy prepared for their second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Costa Rican team Herediano. The teams played to a 0-0 tie in the first leg last Thursday in the Central American country.
Capacity for Wednesday’s game at 24,500-seat Home Depot Center has been capped at 12,500, Galaxy President Chris Klein said today (it’s a school night for Cal State Dominguez Hlls, so attendace is limited to ensure students have parking available).
Arena also confirmed today that injured reserve central defender Tommy Meyer has returned to training.
I’ll have more on this week’s CCL game and Sunday’s SuperClasico in this week’s column on Tuesday.
Incidentally, it appears empathy for Donovan is wearing thin among the ranks of some fans: