STANFORD, Calif. – Bruce Arena did not mince words after a second-half collapse saw the LA Galaxy fall 3-1 to the San Jose Earthquakes in front of a sold-out Stanford Stadium.
“We were crappy.”
LA took the lead in the 17th minute when Juninho scored his third goal in his last three matches but the Galaxy’s advantage did not last for long. San Jose leveled less than 10 minutes later when Chris Wondolowski capitalized on a sequence that began with a turnover in midfield from the visitors.
From that moment on, San Jose dominated the match as the Earthquakes’ pressure suffocated the Galaxy attack. With LA’s offense neutralized, the Quakes made the most of their chances as Clarence Goodson and Cordell Cato scored in the second half to give San Jose the win.
“You can come up with all your theories but we stunk in the second half,” the Galaxy head coach said of the team’s second half performance. “You can use all your theories that you want. You have no clue; we just couldn’t do anything simple and right. From giving away the ball that led to their first goal, from that point on, we were no good.”
In the second half, the Galaxy looked a far cry from the team that scored 16 goals in their previous three matches. LA were unable to find any time and space on the ball and captain Robbie Keane was marked out of the match by the Earthquakes’ Sanna Nyassi.
“When they got their goal, we just switched off and from then on we were chasing the game,” Keane said. “They put everyone behind the ball, their midfielders were compact, they had [Matias Perez-Garcia] running around, and Wondolowski made it hard for us. We have to give them credit.
“After they got their first goal, from then on, they controlled it. To be fair, they were the better team. We’ve only got ourselves to blame, and hopefully, this is a kick up the backside because maybe we were getting carried away with ourselves scoring a lot of goals. We have to be concentrated at all moments. We just weren’t at the races tonight.”
The Galaxy will have an immediate opportunity to right the ship against the Quakes as they will travel to Northern California again on Wednesday for their U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals matchup. Certainly the do-or-die nature of the Open Cup will provide a little added motivation, but Keane insists that the circumstance matters little for LA.
They simply need to play better no matter who they’re lining up against.
“[This loss] gives us incentive regardless of who were playing next. It just so happens that we’re playing them,” Keane said. “Certainly, we want to come in every game that we play in and want to win.”
Added Juninho, “We have to rest and put ourselves in a better position to come onto the field to do our best job. The Open Cup game is another challenge and another battle for us. I think that we can do much better than tonight.”