FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It was a defeat of historic proportions for the LA Galaxy.
The Galaxy fell 5-0 to the New England Revolution on Sunday, tying their worst margin of defeat in club history on Sunday by equaling the mark suffered during a 5-0 defeat to the MetroStars in 2002. Despite controlling wide stretches of the game and dominating possession by a 60.1 to 39.9 margin, LA’s defense was unable to stop a late barrage by the Revolution that included four goals in the final 20 minutes plus stoppage time.
“Today, we don’t have to look at the game. We just have to issue apologies to our fans, to the club and personally to my teammates. Losing 5-0, there’s no excuse,” goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini said after the match.” It’s pointless to try and find any excuses. It’s a bad day. We have to forget quickly and start again next week.”
But what led to LA’s second half collapse?
Following the defeat, every downtrodden face in the Galaxy locker room had the same answer: their inability to rebound after the Revolution’s controversial second goal.
In the 70th minute, Landon Donovan and Andrew Farrell jostled for a ball down the touchline, but referee Fotis Bazakos and assistant referee Adam Garner disagreed on whether to call an LA throw in or a New England free kick. Despite his assistant’s call for LA, Bazakos overruled the decision and awarded the Revolution a free kick that was quickly taken by Diego Fagundez, who fired a pass to Lee Nguyen, who scored the second goal.
After the goal, the Galaxy were livid as Donovan was booked by Bazakos for dissent while trying to argue his case.
“I chased the guy on the sideline and he took a dive, we both got up, and he kind of smiled at me. I said, ‘don’t do that’ and he said ‘yeah, I dove,’” said Donovan after the game as he recalled the play. “The linesman pointed his flag for us so we were both moving back, and he was moving forward to get the throw-in and the ref inexplicitly called a foul.
“They were going at us in our box and from there, it was a goal. It was frustrating, but still our response at that point should be better. The game’s not over yet, however, frustrating it might have been.”
Whether or not the call was accurate, the Galaxy were left flummoxed by their response. LA pushed forward in hopes of cutting the lead to one, quickly rattling off five shots in a three minute span between the second and third goals. As they did this, LA’s defense was stretched, allowing the Revolution to capitalize and score three goals in the final three minutes of regulation time plus stoppage time.
“We’ve got too many guys who have played in MLS or overseas or in national teams [to let down the way we did], but it didn’t go our way,” defender A.J. DeLaGarza said when asked about his teams play after falling behind 2-0. “We have to respond much better, it’s disappointing to lose 5-0 because that just can’t happen.”
“We have to learn that if we go down a goal or we go down a couple of goals, we can’t let things go like that. That is unacceptable,” said Donovan. “But this team is fine. The game is over, we’ll move on, but it never looks good to lose that way.”
Donovan mentions an important lesson for LA, who are now 0-5- in the league when conceding first.
As for how the team moves forward after the defeat, the answer is simple to Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena.
“Very easily,” said Arena. “We have a game next week [against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium] and that’s how we’ll move forward.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com