CARSON, Calif. – Daniel Steres has been one of the LA Galaxy’s most pleasant surprises this season, having come up from the five-time MLS Cup champions’ reserve team to entrench himself on the back line of a defense that statistically has been among the best in MLS.
But his development has not come without its share of learning experiences. And he had a doozy Sunday.
“This game can bring you the best of highs and bring you right back down real quick,” he said. “That’s what it did today.”
The young center back was victimized by U.S. National Team member Jordan Morris of the Seattle Sounders for the game-changing goal in a 4-2 loss in front of 25,819 on blistering hot day at StubHub Center.
“It was quick and I’ll take the blame for that,” Steres said.
The game was tied 1-1 when Morris took a long pass on the wing and, with a surprising burst of speed, raced past Steres and headed toward the Galaxy net. He beat Brian Rowe from no more than 10 yards to give the Sounders the lead for good. Morris added a clinching goal 11 minutes later.
Steres, who has been solid for the most part this season said Morris had a little help on the critical play.
“That goal I’ll say I got fouled because I thought I did,” Steres said. “I know he’s fast but look, I don’t think he’s that much faster than me. I’m getting pulled back from behind and I thought I had good position on him. He got a little toe to it and I probably should have just gone through and I would have taken a foul or gone for the ball.
“He’s pulling my arm back and once he did that he was gone. I wasn’t going to catch him.”
The Sounders got their fourth goal on a 25-yard blast by Osvaldo Alonso. Seattle also scored on what was ruled an own goal by the Galaxy’s Jelle Van Damme, all of which helped make for a long day for head coach Bruce Arena.
“A little sloppy at both ends and it adds up to a lot,” he said.
Steres said he was surprised there was no foul called on the pivotal play with Morris.
“The linesman’s right there,” Steres said. “As a defender I put my hands on a forward like that I probably get the call and they can go down. I tried to stay with the play and keep going and it probably cost me because I didn’t get the call.
“I was in good position in front of him, and he just grabbed my arm. He got one good pull, touched the ball and took off. I shouldn’t be looking for a call from the ref in the first place, but that’s what I was angry about.”
A victory over Seattle would have clinched a playoff berth for the Galaxy. They have three more chances to do so – at Western Conference-leading FC Dallas on Saturday, followed by a visit to Houston on Oct. 16 and the regular-season finale at home against FC Dallas on Oct. 23.
Steres said he was confident the team would respond well to Sunday’s disappointment.
“We really can’t let it do anything to us,” he said. “We’re still in a good spot, we’re still looking to get in the playoffs. It’s not like we’re fighting down in eighth position. We have to push on together as a unit and find a way to win these next three games and make a push.”