Three Points: LA Galaxy fall apart late in loss to San Jose

Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano’s Three Points to LA’s heartbreaking California Clásico loss

CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano breaks down the LA Galaxy’s devastating 3-2 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes…

EARTHQUAKES FIGHT BACK FOR A WIN

The San Jose Earthquakes looked dead and dusted, but despite being down a man, their go for broke mentality paid off at the end with two late goals as they sealed a remarkable comeback victory against the LA Galaxy.

READ: Match Recap

After going down a man in the 77th minute when defender Victor Bernárdez was sent off after shown his second yellow card for a challenge on Juninho, the Earthquakes threw numbers forward in hopes of stretching the LA defense. This tactic paid off in the 91st minute as a long throw-in from Justin Morrow took a poor bounce off the head of Omar Gonzalez as well as A.J. DeLaGarza before falling to Shea Salinas, who pounced on the chance and fired it into the back of the net. A minute later, the comeback was complete as the Earthquakes capitalized on a breakdown in the Galaxy defense when a Sam Cronin cross was launched over Gonzalez to a waiting Alan Gordon who headed in the game winner at the far post.

Questions will be raised on LA’s defensive positioning across the backline as LA’s back four was caught out of position repeatedly while the Earthquakes pressed forward. As the Galaxy turn the page to their match against the Columbus Crew, they will need to show more fortitude in order to return to winning ways.

POOR FINISHING PROVES FATAL

For 70 minutes, the LA Galaxy were playing their best soccer of 2013, but with the game seemingly in hand, poor finishing in the dying moments came back to haunt the Galaxy. The Galaxy were dominant early as they used their counterattack to overwhelm the Earthquakes, who sought to pressure the LA in their own half.

Relying on the counterattack paid off twice for LA as Marcelo Sarvas and Hector Jimenez put the Galaxy up 2-0 in the 65th minute, but for the final 25 minutes, the attack struggled. LA continued to catch the Earthquakes on the counter as they threw numbers forward, but when the Galaxy had their chances in front of net, they appeared tentative. The worst offense came a minute before stoppage time when a buildup of chances left LA with numbers going forward, but rather than immediately press San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch, the Galaxy opted for a different strategy.  They sprayed the ball around in the final third, with the chance eventually ending with a Robbie Keane shot that was cleared away.

The Galaxy’s struggles in front of goal weren’t the only issue; however, as Busch did his part as well as he made three saves after Alan Gordon scored the Earthquakes first goal in the 68th minute and eight total on the night.

DEFEAT RAISES QUESTIONS FOR THE GALAXY

The LA Galaxy will have no choice but to pick themselves up after their crushing defeat to the Earthquakes, but the manner in which they fell raises questions going forward.

Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was understandably livid after the defeat and may need to make changes following the loss. One change that will be made for the LA boss will be Landon Donovan, who departs for the U.S. National Team on Monday. With Donovan leaving, potentially for the entire month of July, LA will need to depend on young forwards Gyasi Zardes, Jose Villarreal and Jack McBean to lead the attack along with Robbie Keane.

Arena may also opt for more steel in midfield after the Galaxy was unable to control the game for a full 90 minutes. This may lead to Arena placing newcomer Pablo Mastroeni into the center of midfield and possibly moving Marcelo Sarvas out wide.

The Galaxy are back in action Thursday, July 4 vs Columbus Crew in a match that kicks off at 7:30 p.m. PT at StubHub Center. Fans in attendance can enjoy a postgame fireworks extravaganza! Need tickets? CLICK HERE

Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com