The LA Galaxy gave away another point Sunday afternoon, again at the finish, as another failure to defend in front of their goal proved costly in a 1-0 defeat to the New York Red Bulls.
It's the seventh goal LA has conceded after the 80th minute this year in all competitions, and the fifth they've surrendered from or following a set piece. It adds up: The Galaxy have been deprived of eight points in all, plus any chance at the CONCACAF Champions League title.
Tim Cahill did the damage this time, slipping behind Omar Gonzalez and A.J. DeLaGarza to redirect Juninho's stoppage-time free kick into the net, and the blame goes to Carlo Cudicini. The veteran Italian goalkeeper stood on his line as Juninho's cross from about 40 yards soared into the six-yard box, where New York's Australian star had no problem getting his head to it and nodding it in.
“That's not good. That play tonight can't happen,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena told media at Red Bull Arena. “That’s 90 percent goalkeeper ball there.
“You saw that goal. We had plays the other way to get a goal, too. ... You have to make a play. They made a play, we didn't – that's the difference in the game. That game should be one point.”
They lost that point in the 91st minute when Juninho's free kick sailed right to Cahill, who was aided when Henry positioned himself between his teammate and Gonzalez, preventing LA's towering defender from challenging for the ball. Cudicini should have come off his line to punch the ball away, but he stayed rooted to his line and had no chance to stop the shot.
“It was a silly free kick in our half, and from there Juninho played the ball right into the box, and then, of course, I don't know what happened really because they jumped in front of me,” Cudicini said. “I tried to reach it, but it was too far.”
What should he have done?
“It's easy when you're up there. When you're on the pitch, is difficult,” said the former Chelsea and Tottenham netminder. “I could've done many things. Every time you concede a goal, you can do different things. But, of course, it's disappointing because I don't think we deserved to lose. I think we had actually had the better chances, but in the end we go home with zero points.”
The Red Bulls didn't disagree with Arena’s assessment of the match. Thierry Henry, whose positioning on Gonzalez enabled Cahill's header, called the Galaxy “better than us today” and said that LA “deserved to win the game.”
The Galaxy (5-4-2) were all over New York until Juninho departed with a shin injury after just 10 minutes, and their late push – after Landon Donovan joined Robbie Keane up top with a half-hour to go – generated four outstanding chances that surely would have produced at least one goal if not for Jamison Olave and goalkeeper Luis Robles' heroics in the box.
“That's a real good effort,” Arena said. “We played pretty well for the third game in a week traveling all over the country. I’m disappointed for our players, because we certainly played well enough to get out of here with a point.”