SEATTLE – The score line was hardly close for the LA Galaxy during Sunday’s 4-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders FC, but the major turning point came just 15 minutes into the match.
With the Galaxy pushing for an equalizer after Eddie Johnson’s goal in the sixth minute of play, A.J. DeLaGarza appeared to be brought down in the box by Sounders outside back Leo Gonzalez. DeLaGarza immediately rose up calling for a penalty kick, but saw his protests immediately waved off by referee Chris Penso, who would not award a spot kick.
“It’s a play that could have changed the game, but regardless of that we gave up four goals,” said DeLaGarza. “And in Seattle, you’re not going to win a game having to score five or six goals.”
Although DeLaGarza played down the potential penalty kick shout, one of his Galaxy teammates chose a different approach.
"I probably shouldn’t say too much but I’ll tell you now an AYSO ref is better than that today. It is quite remarkable," midfielder David Beckham told reporters of Penso’s call. "Is it why we lost the game? No. But we definitely would have got back in the game and turned the crowd quiet.
“Would it have gotten us back into the game? Definitely, but we didn’t play well today and Seattle played a lot better,” Beckham added. “Big calls like that—it’s a big call in a game like this. It’s disappointing.”
Penalty shouts aside, the Galaxy offense frequently struggled to generate scoring chances against a compact and organized Sounders side. Despite holding a 56.8% to 43.2% possession advantage on Seattle, the Galaxy registered just two of shots on goal.
The defense did not fair any better as the back four struggled to deal with a Sounders attack that was able to capitalize on several key mistakes. On the night, the Sounders were able to make 24 interceptions with several of those turnovers leading to scoring chances or goals.
After a disappointing performance that snapped a five-game unbeaten run, Galaxy captain Landon Donovan admitted that it was simply a bad night all around for LA.
“It was the perfect storm,” said Donovan. “We started the game poorly defending, all night we didn’t attack well, the officiating was awful. It just seemed like everything went against us and we didn’t play well.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at lagalaxy.com/insider