Monday Major League Soccer Rewind: Robbie Keane misses penalty, LA Galaxy miss opportunity to win in San Jose

Busy weekend? Let’s play catch-up.

The Galaxy dropped valuable road points for a second consecutive game in a foul-ridden game in the Bay Area, striker Robbie Keane missing a penalty in the 1-1 draw against the Earthquakes Sunday and the chance to win the game on a weekend that saw rivals Seattle become the first MLS team to clinch a post-season berth.

Next for the Galaxy: FC Dallas at StubHub Center 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Meanwhile, does anyone — even the people who work there — still care about Chivas USA anymore as their futile winless streak hits double digits?

We’ll spare you the video on that one.

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LA Galaxy – San Jose Earthquakes meet in California Clasico at high noon on Time Warner Cable SportsNet

A rueful Landon Donovan misses out on his final visit to his former club and the chance to deliver another blow to San Jose’s sub-par season.

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Who will draw the most fans to StubHub Center this weekend: the LA Galaxy reserves or Chivas USA?

chivasfri

The question in the headline of this post is somewhat tongue in cheek, but worth asking given Chivas USA’s deteriorating fan base and the free admission and parking to the Galaxy II’s first-ever home playoff game on Saturday.

MLS beat writer Phil Collin has the game basics for tonight’s game against Sporting Kansas City.

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Watch: LA Galaxy tactical blunder almost costs club game against lowly Montreal Impact

LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena got out-coached Wednesday in Montreal — by himself.

Apparently encouraged by what he saw from deploying a three-man backline in the 6-0 win against the Colorado Rapids last Friday, Arena tried the same tactic from the outset of the contest on the road in Montreal against the Eastern Conference basement dwelling Impact with almost catastrophic results.

Montreal’s heretofore anemic attack bagged two first half goals, forcing the Galaxy to belatedly install a four-man back line and come from behind to grab a 2-2 draw. The frantic fight back contributed to yellow cards defender Dan Gargan and Landon Donovan received, who will now miss Sunday’s game in San Jose against the Earthquakes. And the tactical error was compounded by the fact that the lone point from the road tie cost the Galaxy the opportunity to overtake the Seattle Sounders for the overall MLS lead with a win.

Oops.

“Yes, we switched,” Arena said after the game, “because we didn’t have the team I needed on the field to do the changes I was asking for. That`s my responsibility, because I put out a formation on the field that wasn’t effective with the players I put in the lineup. At halftime the message was to get a goal in, to get back in the game.”

Experienced striker Robbie Keane agreed with Arena’s assessment:

“You could see we didn’t have the personnel to play there, so when we went back to the original 4-4-2, then we got back into the game,” he said. “It was obvious to see.”

Fans could have told Arena he was playing with fire.

The three-man defensive corps included much-maligned Brazilian defender Leonardo. While he didn’t make any of the huge defensive blunders he is known for, Leonardo also looked way too passive on at least one of the goals.

It’s unclear what Arena sees in Leonardo that virtually everyone else does not, but he wasn’t the only disappointment. So, too, was Stefan Ishizaki, who was hauled off at half time and replaced with Robbie Rogers when the switch was made, and seems to be regressing rather than progressing after a relatively bright start to his MLS career.

So should fans pat themselves collectively on the back and cluck “told you so’s” at Arena?

Hardly.

Another player fans love to hate, forward Alan Gordon, who was not known as a prolific goalscorer in his first go round with the Galaxy, scored the equalizer Wednesday and now has three goals in seven games since his return from San Jose.

Go figure.

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Major League Soccer Preview: LA Galaxy visit Montreal Impact live at 4:30 p.m. today on Time Warner Cable SportsNet

MLS beat writer Phil Collin has the game basics here.

Here’s what faces struggling Montreal, last in the Eastern conference, against a visiting club eying the MLS lead with a win.

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Watch: Free-scoring LA Galaxy pay tribute to defender A.J. DeLaGarza and family in emotional win over Colorado Rapids in Carson

On a night of heartfelt tributes to A.J. DeLaGarza’s new-born son, Luka, who died Thursday after just a handful of days on this earth because of a congenital heart defect, the LA Galaxy gave perhaps the most stirring performance soccer players can give, walloping their opponent in an exuberant 6-0 romp Friday that represented the team’s biggest margin of victory since the high-scoring 1998 season.

“We think the world of A.J. [DeLaGarza] and his family,” coach Bruce Arena said. “It’s a difficult moment, so our thoughts are definitely with them. It was emotional. He’s a person that we all care about. He’s such a great person. Him and his wife. It’s awful difficult to be in that position. We feel his pain, and we will be as supportive as we can be for A.J. and his family. Certainly, our thoughts were with him tonight. It’s certainly it was a game we wanted to win for him.”

“We play a sport for a living that we tend to think is very important, and people I think get carried away with parts of it,” said Landon Donovan. “We try to keep it all in perspective and life is more important. We’re heartbroken for our teammate [A.J. DeLaGarza] and our friend Megan [DeLaGarza] and their family and we do our job and we get on with it, but it doesn’t change what happened yesterday. That’s going to be a part of our season going forward; it doesn’t mean that after tonight we forget about it. It’s still a piece of all of us that we feel is lost and it’s a sad night.”

“Obviously it’s a tough time for A.J. [DeLaGarza] and his family, but obviously for us as well,” said DeLaGarza’s college friend and central defensive partner Omar Gonzalez. “He is part of the family and he is a longtime friend and teammate of mine so I definitely feel for him. There aren’t words to express how I feel and there aren’t words to say to him because I don’t understand. It is really tough so we just want to let him know that we are here for him no matter what. If he needs a shoulder to lean on, we’ll be ready when he is ready to talk about it. Tonight, I just texted him and said, ‘is there something I can do for Luca?’ He said, ‘just get a shutout, and play hard for Luca. That would mean the most.’ And everyone is wearing the black Luca armbands; some of us wore the shirts. Tonight was about something bigger than all of us and playing for his family. It’s just great that there’s so much love here and I’m happy that we could get this win for him tonight.”

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SuperClasico Labor Day Weekend Rewind: Game over for rivalry as LA Galaxy beat Chivas USA (yet again)


Since losing to Sporting Kansas City July 19, the Galaxy have reeled off six wins, dropping just five points in the eight games and ending with a 13-goal spree over four games in 11 days. Impressive.

No wonder coach Bruce Arena lost track of how many games they have played where. Next up: Colorado Friday in Carson.

Mercifully, this rivalry series is finished.

And no column from me today because of the holiday weekend.

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