Postgame Notes & Quotes: LA vs Chicago

Landon Donovan scores 100th MLS goal in loss to Chicago

Quotes:

LA GALAXY HEAD COACH BRUCE ARENA
On the result:
“Well, as I just said to television, there’s not a team in the league you can spot three goals and expect to win the game or get a point.  Our start to the game was poor, yet oddly enough we get a terrific chance to start the game in the first minute or two, Edson’s point-blank with the goalkeeper; he came up with the save, and within five minutes of that, I think we’re down two goals and give up another goal.  So really, from the technical part of the game in the early minutes we failed…, defensively we made a bunch of errors and then over the last sixty minutes or so, it wasn’t bad but, again, our technical execution was poor because we should have been scoring goals out of run of play.  This is a game today where although we, and it’s an unfair term to say we spotted them three goals, because they certainly earned their goals and capitalized on our mistakes, but we could have scored five goals today and so failed on both ends of the field, no question about it.”

On the team’s recent form and the pressure of being the league’s top team:
“I don’t think it’s the pressure, it could be complacency. You know teams are obviously coming in with a real defensive posture yet scoring a lot of goals because of mistakes but the teams have played very defensive against us. Our tactical execution and understanding has been very poor and that falls with the coach so, let’s leave it at that.”

On the club’s current struggles:
“Well, believe me, it’s not planned that way but, obviously, players can get a little comfortable when they look at the league standings and see we’re out in front, and I think that’s been the case with a number of players. If we’re going to make mistakes, we have a little bit of a cushion to do that, but when you forget about the things that got you where you are, it’s going to be harder to get back to that point so there’s nothing good about this in my view, whether we have 40 points or 15 points, I’m not pleased about where we’re at at the moment.”

On his squad rotation policy at the moment:
“In some cases it’s just work and in other cases some of the guys need a rest. We’ve got to find the right mix with the players and try to get that right, all I can say is that the last three games we created some chances but at the end of the day, it’s about the score and winning games. We have to get that right”

On his week with the loss in the Champions League, the loss in the All-Star Game and today’s loss:
“For me personally, I’ve had better weeks in my life but the way I look at it, it can only get better.”

LA GALAXY CAPTAIN LANDON DONOVAN
On the result:
“I’m sick of giving up goals, I’m sick of not winning at home and we have to get better. We have to start the game properly and get back to doing what we’re good at. We’re not as focused on our jobs right now as we should be and this is a good wake up call for us.”

On the team’s recent form:
“I’ll just say that we’re disappointed with the last few results. But at the end of all of it, we still look up and we’re still in first place in the league. We need to learn, we need to get better and we need to improve, but there are a lot of team’s that are in a lot worse shape than we are right now.”

On the run of play in today’s game:
“Sometimes it happens like that. They had four chances and scored three goals and I’d like to say that a lot of it has to do with luck, but I think those things happen for a reason and maybe our attitude isn’t right, maybe we’re not as focused on our jobs and we’re focused on other things, off the field too much, and that’s coming back to bite us right now. So we have to learn and learn quick.”

On the upcoming game against Real Madrid:
“They’re decent. We’ll worry about that after Wednesday.”

LA GALAXY DEFENDER GREGG BERHALTER
On the loss:
“It’s a concern obviously. We have to look at it and just get back to the basics. We know that we’re a quality team and there are times in the season where things aren’t going your way and now is that time. I don’t think it’s time to panic, I think it’s time to look at things and regroup.”

On the team’s trouble at the start of games recently:
“It’s uncharacteristic stuff that we’ve been playing right now. We have to look at that and we have to look hard at that and get into the right positions and address the first 10 minutes of games.”

On the team’s recent struggles:
“It’s not demoralizing, it’s a soccer game. Obviously we don’t like it and we’re not proud of it and we need to correct it, but we’ve been there before and we’ve responded a lot of times to crisis’s like this and we’ll respond again.”

LA GALAXY DEFENDER TODD DUNIVANT

On the changing defensive lineup for the squad:
“We’ve interchanged parts all year and we haven’t had any problems. It’s really only been this stretch where we’ve been bleeding two or three goals a game and we’re not like that. We’ll work it out. I wouldn’t say it’s the personnel, or different personnel because we’ve had the same guys all year.”

On the Chicago goals:

“It was strange. I haven’t seen the replays but it’s not like they were putting us under a lot of pressure and breaking us down, it was just one through ball and a guy was in. It was strange. We have to do of keeping *** and defending first   , I think we’ve gotten away from that. We’ve gotten a little bit more of a mentality of attacking teams and trying to really press games and it’s opened us up and teams have been scoring on us.”
 
LA GALAXY MIDFIELDER MICHAEL STEPHENS
On what the team needs to do in order to start winning again:
“We just have to keep going. Obviously it’s tough and we’re on a little bit of a skid here, but we have to keep playing and keep trying to get better results and start the games better.”

On the team’s ability to create chances:
“I think more importantly, we’re giving up too many easy goals. We’re still creating chances but the way we’re starting games is just not okay and it’s not going to lead to good results for us.”

CHICAGO FIRE HEAD COACH CARLOS DE LOS COBOS
On the game:
“It was a game we knew was going to be difficult.  We faced the best team in the league and the team came with the mentality to walk away with the three points.  In the first half we played well. We were well organized on the pitch. We took advantage of the spaces they gave us because they pressed forward a lot and that gave us clear options.  In the second half certain factors had us defending on our back foot. The first factor was the opposing team had to risk more to go forward.  A series of problems with a couple of players that are not 100 percent because they are recuperating from injuries and were not able to finish the game the way they should. I’m happy with the result because the team deserved it.  They were able to keep possession in the second half, but we didn’t give them much space.  I’m happy with certain individual performances because although they are young they are showing their potential.  We are building a team for the future.”
 
On Sean Johnson’s MLS debut:
“Johnson had a great performance and that speaks volumes about his abilities and character, because it’s not easy to play here at The Home Depot Center against the best team and be such an important player because he had two or threes great saves, which allowed us to walk away with three points.”
 
On the penalties awarded to the Galaxy:
“I really didn’t see the first penalty, and I don’t want to over step my boundaries but I don’t think the second penalty should’ve been awarded, because I saw that play and the player intended to deceive the referee. It would’ve been shameful to go back home without three points because of a refereeing decision.”
 
CHICAGO FIRE GOALKEEPER SEAN JOHNSON

On making his MLS debut:
“I think it was good, overall it was comfortable. That’s the most important thing coming off two games in the Superliga, I had confidence coming in. It’s another game, it’s an important game.  To start off with a win in the second half of the season was huge for us.
 
On the two penalties:
“It’s part of the game, you never know what’s going to happen, you have to be prepared and stay focused for 90 minutes. We came out with a win, no matter what happened with the two penalties, the call outside the box, but coming out with the win is the most important thing.”  

CHICAGO FIRE MIDFIELDER MARCO PAPPA
On the game:
“It was a close game. Our primary goal was to collect three points, but I think we need to improve and work hard this week to prepare for the next game.”
 
On scoring the first goal of the game:
“It was a great collective effort; I received a pass that was switched from the other side of the field while on a diagonal run and put the ball past the goalkeeper. A goal is a team effort and shows the quality of a team.”
 
CHICAGO FIRE MIDFIELDER MIKE BANNER
On the game:
“It was good. We went up 3-0 early but we pretty much defended the whole game. We fought and defended. The referee made a few calls, pk’s [penalties], all we did was fight.
 
On his goal:
“I saw Marco winding up for a shot and I expected a rebound and it came right to me.  It couldn’t have fallen any better for me and I put it in.”

 

Notes:

  • With the loss, the Galaxy are now 12-3-4 on the season and remain alone in first place in the Western Conference. The Galaxy have 40 points and are six points clear of Real Salt Lake at the top of the Western Conference. LA is also six points ahead of Columbus in the race for the best record in MLS.
  • Bruce Arena made four changes to the team that drew 2-2 with San Jose on July 22, brining Gregg Berhalter, Chris Birchall, Tristan Bowen and Jovan Kirovski back into the squad. They replaced Alan Gordon, Juninho, Dema Kovalenko and Leonardo.
  • Gordon, Kovalenko and Leonardo all started the game on the bench, while Juninho did not dress because of an adductor strain. Gordon and Kovalenko entered the game in the second half, while Leonardo was an unused substitute.
  • The loss snapped the Galaxy’s 11 game home unbeaten streak. Since their last home loss on September 12, 2009, the Galaxy had gone 9-0-2 at home in the regular season.
  • The three goals allowed by the Galaxy were their most allowed in a regular season home game since the 6-3 defeat to FC Dallas on September 12, 2009.
  • The three goals allowed in the first half were the most the club had allowed in a single half since the second half of that same game, when they surrendered four goals.
  • Prior to today, the Galaxy had not allowed three goals in the first half of a game since October 18, 2008 in a 3-0 loss at Houston.
  • The Galaxy have now lost two straight at home in all competitions. This is the first time that they have lost consecutive home games in all competitions since May 13 and May 20 in the 2006 season.
  • This was just the fifth time that the Galaxy had allowed three goals to the Fire and the first time they had done so at The Home Depot Center.
  • Landon Donovan scored both Galaxy goals for his first multi-goal game of the season.
  • Donovan has now scored four goals in his last three games, with three of those coming from the penalty spot.
  • Both of Donovan’s goals came on penalty kicks. The last time the Galaxy had two penalty kicks in the same game was on July 4, 2007 when Donovan scored both goals in a 2-0 home win for LA over the Fire.
  • This was just the fourth time that the Galaxy had been given two penalties in the same game. Donovan also scored two penalties in a 3-2 home win over Colorado on May 8, 2005, while Carlos Ruiz scored one penalty and had one saved in a 2-1 home win over Dallas on August 30, 2003.
  • Prior to tonight’s game, the Galaxy last earned a penalty kick at home on May 2, 2009 in a 1-0 win over New York. That was their first win of the 2009 season.
  • After allowing just four goals in their first 14 games of the regular season, LA has now given up nine in their last five.
  • The Galaxy’s five yellow cards tied a club record.
  • The Galaxy last recorded a shutout on June 26 in a 0-0 draw at Toronto FC. They have given up a goal in each of their last five games.
  • The Galaxy have now allowed a goal in each of their last four regular season games.
  • The attendance for today’s game was 20,238.
  • The Galaxy are back in action on Wednesday, August 4 when they travel to Bayamon, Puerto Rico, to take on the Puerto Rico Islanders in the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League Preliminary Round series at Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium. That game kicks off at 5 p.m. (PT) and can be seen live on Fox Soccer Channel in English and Galavision in Spanish.
  • Three days after that game, the Galaxy are back in action in Southern California when they host Real Madrid in an international friendly at the Rose Bowl. That game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. and can be seen live on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Espanol.
  • The Galaxy are back in MLS action on Saturday, August 14 when they travel east to take on the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. That game kicks off at 3 p.m. (PT) and can be seen live on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Espanol.