CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan and the LA Galaxy dominated possession and dominated the scoring chances on Sunday, but were unable to earn the win at the final whistle, falling 1-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes in the Western Conference First Leg at The Home Depot Center.
After playing in Thursday’s Knockout Round match on the flank, Donovan returned to the forward spot and was instrumental in creating chances for the Galaxy. Whether it was his pass that led to Robbie Keane’s shot off the cross bar in the 85th or a pass in the 63rd that set up a Marcelo Sarvas chance that sailed wide left, Donovan was active throughout the match.
However, it would prove for not as a Victor Bernárdez free kick goal gave the Earthquakes a 1-0 victory heading into the second leg at Buck Shaw Stadium on Wednesday.
Below are Donovan’s thoughts from Sunday’s match…
DONOVAN: “Yeah, it was never a game you would think that we would lose but, it was kind of one fluke play and we were a little unlucky. We probably weren’t sharp enough in the offensive part of the field, but at worse we thought we’d go up there 0-0 and just have to get a goal. Now it looks like we’ve got to get two. But, it’s not over, we’ve played well there twice this year and there’s no reason why we can’t win there.”
(On whether Sarvas’ foul was a foul…)
DONOVAN: Yeah, I mean during the game we didn’t think it was a foul. I think if you ask Ricardo again, he’d probably say it was a mistake, and he shouldn’t have called it. But we still had a chance to get our wall together and do a better job and those kind of plays happen. Sometimes you don’t get calls for you and you’ve got to do a good job with the resulting free kicks and we didn’t.”
DONOVAN: “Josh will be fine. It took a pretty nasty deflection, and it had a lot of spin on it. None of us field players know what it’s like to have that coming at you. There was some good pace on it too, but I think Josh is going to have a really good game Wednesday and give us a chance to win.”
(On LA’s finishing…)
DONOVAN: “We didn’t have too many great chances, but obviously unlucky with Robbie’s and probably didn’t run hard enough in front of the goal with a lot of the crosses we had. We got a number of decent chances and some good attacking play, and on Wednesday we’ve got to score.”
(On the lack of rest…)
DONOVAN: “It probably plays into it to some extent. This is a long season in this country and we play a lot of games over a short period of time, over only six months so the end of the year is hard. But we put ourselves in that position by finishing fourth, so we have no excuses; we’ll get ourselves ready physically. Mentally this is already behind us, and we’re going to go forward on Wednesday.”
(On the Galaxy’s mindset for Wednesday…)
DONOVAN: “First and foremost, we can’t concede. We’ve got to be smart with our defending, but we’re in a position now we’re we’ve got nothing to lose. So we’re going to go like we have always, we’re going to go and try to win the game. There’s no reason why the guys in this room can’t go win a game in San Jose.”
(On San Jose’s chaotic play…)
DONOVAN: “That’s sort of, we know how they play. The game settled down a little bit in the second half. We were a lot better, kind of wore them out. Quite a few of their guys were cramping, so maybe that will all come into play a little bit on Wednesday. We did a really good job of moving the ball and making them defend, we just weren’t sharp enough when we had chances to score.”