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.
Staff Writer Phil Collin asks whether this is an early-season novelty act or represents a new reality for the club after Saturday’s win over Vancouver in Carson (featuring one lucky Chivas USA goal and one well-taken strike) in his game story.
And a class last-gasp goal it was too, capping an entertaining game that had a little of everything: defensive errors on both sides, excellent goals by both teams, the return of Landon Donovan, Mike Magee building on his cult-like status with yet another goal and fine performances by attack-minded local youngsters Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena did not blame central defender Omar Gonzalez for failing to shut down the Toronto attack that led to their second goal:
“It was a long week,” Arena said referring to Gonzalez’ starring role for the U.S. against Mexico earlier in the week. “He can see he was a little bit tired at the end. It’s a lot of games and a lot of travel. It’s not surprising his legs were heavy in the second half.
“He had to run more today than he did on Tuesday in Mexico. He did well, the whole team obviously as a defensive effort by the U.S. team was outstanding.”
Donovan conceded he has some work to do after missing a chance he usually would have put away as a matter of routine just seconds after coming into the game, but also appears to have rediscovered his zest for the game:
“I gave away a lot of passes that I wouldn’t normally give away,” he said.”I’m just not sharp in a soccer way and I’m probably going to need a week or two and then that will come back. … It was a lot of fun. I haven’t felt that way playing in a very long time. That was the desired goal when I stepped away and it was nice to be back.”
And while the Chicago Fire capitulated pitifully Sunday, Chivas USA still had to take their chances in the 4-1 win before fewer than 10,000 — and did so admirably (Juan Agudelo’s international class goal that showcased his timing, strength and finesse is especially worth checking out below).
Chivas USA coach Chelis appreciated the gift: “We had a lot of luck. We won because we scored goals, it is as simple as that. I never thought I would have told you this but we won because we scored two goals. They played with a lot of bad luck, a lot of bad luck. They did a lot to try and score the first half and nothing. We had five opportunities, and scored on four.”