Bruce Arena on Colorado loss: "They physically manhandled us"
The LA Galaxy didn't have enough of anything to stick with the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night, and a short span stretching from the final minutes of the first half through the opening moments after the break cost them plenty in a 2-0 loss in Commerce City, Colo.
The Galaxy (10-9-3) were outmuscled in midfield and failed to develop an attacking rhythm until the finish, relying exclusively on shots from distance until they were down by two goals. They faltered twice in an otherwise decent defensive performance as their losing streak away from Southern California, dating to mid-May, reached six matches.
“They physically manhandled us,” head coach Bruce Arena told reporters in Colorado. “They won the battles most of the day. It was a really poor goal for us to give up at the end of the first half. It was a big play and, obviously, not a good way to start the second half by letting them create the second goal. Overall, we deserved to get beat.”
Hendry Thomas slipped fill-in defender Tommy Meyer's mark to head home a corner kick in the 41st minute for the Rapids -- Arena said he was “very disappointed with the defending on that set piece” -- and Dillon Powers engineered and scored a superb second goal in the 47th, creating and exploiting space in LA's defense through combination play.
The 2-0 lead was too much for Saturday's Galaxy side to overcome.
“I think giving up that late goal at the end of the first half kind of deflated us a little bit, and then we were chasing,” left back Todd Dunivant told MLSsoccer.com. “Giving up a goal at the beginning of the second half really put the dagger in us, and we didn't have the legs to see out the goal. Quite honestly, we got beat. We got beat all over the field.”
The Galaxy thought they played well most of the first half. LA midfielder Pablo Mastroeni, returning to face the team he'd been with the past 11 and a half years, called it a “stalemate” until Hendry's goal, and the halftime conversation in LA's locker room focused on starting the second half strong.
“You talk about going out and not giving up a goal in the first 15 [minutes], and that's where we gave up another goal a few minutes into the second half,” right back Sean Franklin said. “It's frustrating, knowing how well we played in the first half, and they got a goal like that at the end of the first half. It's unacceptable. Our team's better than that.”
The Rapids won most of the midfield duels, most of the first balls, and second balls all seemed to fall to Powers, through whom their attack flowed. LA found few paths through the middle of the field.
“Give them credit,” Dunivant said. “Defensively, they played well, and we were a half-second slow all over the field. Maybe even a full step slow. We were slow getting into spaces, slow when we got the ball, slow of thought, and really never found a rhythm.”
Scott French covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com.