Galaxy muster comeback in night of firsts
CARSON, Calif. – The Los Angeles Galaxy had an uncharacteristic evening Thursday against San Jose.
For the first time all season, they fell behind at home and, also for the first time in 2010, they surrendered two goals at the Home Depot Center. Edson Buddle and Landon Donovan helped the Western Conference leaders come from behind twice, though, as the Galaxy and San Jose tied 2-2.
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Despite their shortcomings, the Galaxy players were walking proudly after the match.
“I don’t like coming away with only a point at home, but given the circumstances, the way we had to come back and scrap to get the point, I can’t complain,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “We certainly punished ourselves at times but, on the whole, we were very good and incredibly dominating in the second half.”
San Jose dealt LA an unfamiliar blow when Bobby Convey buried a ball into the back of the net just two minutes in. The goal was the quickest the Galaxy have allowed all season and it set up a different situation than the club has been used to, as they had to chase the game from that point on.
A bit of a frantic pace followed and Galaxy players were happy with how they were able to respond.
“It’s a game we should have won," Donovan said. "We were the better team and created a lot more chances. Getting scored on early is difficult to come back from, but we did a good job and you had to think that if anyone was going to win, it was going to be us.
"Our resiliency was good, and it was a good test for us, something we haven’t done a lot this year…We can’t really be mad because we still played well, [we] just made a few mistakes.”
Convey’s goal came through the heart of the Galaxy’s defense, a position normally covered by Gregg Berhalter. But Berhalter and fellow defensive stalwart Chris Birchall were on the bench for the match – the first time since April 17 the two were not part of the Galaxy’s starting lineup.
Arena, though, refused to single out the moves – particularly sitting Berhalter in favor of Brazilian Leonardo – as reasons why the Galaxy surrendered two goals at home for the first time.
“Leonardo had a great game tonight," Arena said. "He was very good. Perhaps Gregg not being there to start contributed to the sloppy organization of our back line, but I thought Leonardo was excellent tonight.”
Not having his central defense partner alongside was not much of a factor in the match, Omar Gonzalez said.
“I don’t think it affected us that much,” he said. “We just came out flat. That was our only problem.”
The Galaxy’s fight continued into the second half and the club was rewarded with a goal as Buddle tied the match in the 59th minute. But Brandon McDonald put the visitors ahead in the 72nd minute, setting up more late heroics for Donovan.
In stoppage time, second-half substitute Tristan Bowen fired a shot on goal. San Jose’s Jon Busch couldn’t get a handle on the ball and it eventually rolled out to Donovan, who only needed to push the ball across the goal line.
Asked what he thought as the game approached stoppage time, Donovan quipped: “I was thinking Algeria.
“We had a lot of pressure on them, [and we] kept going,” added Donovan. “At that point, you keep putting balls in front of the goal and you try to make a play. Sometimes it doesn’t happen, [Thursday] it did.”