SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Bruce Arena and the LA Galaxy may have been considered by many to be the underdogs heading into the Western Conference Semifinal, but that is not how the Galaxy head coach saw things.
LA became the first team to beat the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium this season with a dominating performance as Robbie Keane notched a pair of goals before Mike Magee put the Galaxy ahead for good, with LA earning a 3-1 win on the night and a 3-2 victory on aggregate.
Below are the thoughts of LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena...
(On his thoughts on the win tonight...)
ARENA: “Well certainly a good win for our group. I think it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t just take a minute to just congratulate San Jose on their year. They’re really the champions in the league. When you go through the entire season, even though I’m not a great believer in the way they have the Supporters’ Shield, but they earned it and they’re champions in the league and we’re still participating in another competition called the MLS Cup. So congratulations to them, but I think we have a damn good team, and arguably the best team in the league, and we have a chance to prove it in the next series again. Great victory for our team tonight, I think they played pretty well. A little bit sloppy in the second half, but I think San Jose deserves credit for that, the way they hung in there and never quit and attacked us and made things difficult."
(On his center backs…)
ARENA: “They’ve played well. Tommy’s growing into that position and obviously had a good performance tonight.”
(On the team’s journey this season…)
ARENA: We did, but we’ve been the best team in this league since July. I’m happy nobody’s noticed that, which is always good. We were able to hide under the radar a little bit. We’ve been real good since July. We actually were pretty comfortable that we could come in here and win. We were confident about that. We certainly screwed up the other night at home, but we played quite well. Actually, the game the other night gave us the confidence that we could come in here and win because we felt that it was a good matchup for us.”
(On what was different this time against San Jose…)
ARENA: “I think every game could have gone either way, but to San Jose’s credit, it went their way most of the time. The difference tonight is getting three goals in the first half, and finishing our chances, and being a little bit more solid defensively. Although, I think in this second half at the end, we got a little tired and made some mistakes, but you’re not getting the fourth goal that they were handing to us. We were very sloppy in trying to just kill the game off over the last 15 minutes. We had a good performance tonight and certainly our guys deserve a lot of credit. But at the same time, I do want to congratulate San Jose for a great year.”
(On the impact that Victor Bernárdez’s injury had on the game…)
ARENA: ‘It contributes; it’s all part of it though. Injuries happen. He’s been an important part of their team and it certainly didn’t help them, but I didn’t think it was the difference in the game.”
(On LA’s first half success...)
ARENA: “We were smart. We were strong in the early going, yet patient and the first goal was obviously important. The second goal, I think San Jose put their heads down, and the third goal obviously was a killer. But to their credit, when they got the goal in the 82nd minute by Gordon, they fought real hard to try to get that second goal and try to send it into another 30 minutes.”