This is what makes sport…sport, of course: the rivalry games. Nothing speaks volumes about a contest more than a good rivalry game that has great late drama, and Saturday night’s contest was par for the course. Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy have got to be kicking themselves for not delivering late against a 10-man San Jose Earthquakes team.
Jun 29, 2013; Palo Alto, CA, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena reacts after a missed shot against the San Jose Earthquakes during the second half at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
If you can’t finish, you will lose. And Mark Watson’s Quakes bucked a trend in which the Galaxy win after scoring first. Actually, the Galaxy bucked their own trend by not playing defense.
It was their chronic lack of defending in stoppage time that cost them what could have been a 2-1 victory and instead became a 3-2 defeat. The Galaxy are going to have a tough summer on their hands, no question about it. And some of the dead weight has to go.
Here are six things we learned from the Galaxy’s 3-2 defeat to San Jose.
1. Alan Gordon at it again
Alan Gordon was originally going to be in the 10 Bold Predictions; however, there could only be 10. Gordon scored in the 68th minute and the third minute of stoppage time with a header from Sam Cronin that set Stanford Stadium on fire. For the next match between these two teams, the View can confirm this as Bold Prediction No. 1: Alan Gordon with a brace, provided he is available.
2. Shea Salinas gets it right at the right time
Shea Salinas is a player that came under the radar in the Bold Predictions. Not a single mention and he had a plethora of opportunities. In the second minute of stoppage time, he finally got one through in the bottom left corner to make it 2-2.
3. Steven Lenhart a non-factor on Saturday
Jun 29, 2013; Palo Alto, CA, USA; San Jose Earthquakes fans holding scarves against the Los Angeles Galaxy during the second half at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
On a 50-50 challenge in the second half, Steven Lenhart suffered a massive head gash that essentially knocked him out of the pitch. The bleeding was so profuse that he had to be subbed for Gordon. Very few people expected that to be the substitution that would turn the match on its head late, but Lenny was a non-factor in the contest.
4. Landon Donovan continues his climb up the assists charts
Landon Donovan secured a couple of assists on goals to Marcelo Sarvas and Hector Jimenez. With the assists, he is now tied with Carlos Valderrama for second-most assists in MLS with 114.
5. Los Angeles pay the price for not finishing
Despite dominating a number of match statistics, the Galaxy lost the game for two reasons: lack of defending late and failure to finish. These are the two issues that have affected them all season and could put their MLS Cup defense in jeopardy.
6. Tough July on the way with Donovan on Gold Cup duty
This is not how you want to prepare for July, but the Los Angeles Galaxy put themselves in this position. Landon Donovan’s playmaking ability will be missed the entire month of July. The pressure is on Robbie Keane to pull it out, but the onus is on the Galaxy FO to find a marquee signing.
The Galaxy and Quakes do not meet again until Aug. 31 at StubHub Center, so hopefully Los Angeles can get the memo and start searching because these late losses are going to add up.