LA Galaxy Rue Second-Half Collapse against Seattle
CARSON, Calif. - Don't call it a wake-up call, but the LA Galaxy received a kick up the backside after a second half meltdown resulted in a 2-2 draw with Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday evening.
Up 2-0 on goals from Baggio Husidic and Marcelo Sarvas, the Galaxy were cruising in front of a capacity crowd of 27,244 at StubHub Center, but once the visitors regrouped from the early shellacking, the match changed drastically.
Fueled by the stellar playmaking of MLS MVP candidate Obafemi Martins, the Sounders erased the Galaxy's lead in three minutes with goals from Clint Dempsey and Lamar Neagle. Each time, it was Martins providing the distribution needed to break through the Galaxy defense.
Once the lead evaporated, the Galaxy's night went from bad to worse after Omar Gonzalez was awarded his second yellow card for a foul on Seattle's Gonzalo Pineda, leaving Bruce Arena fuming.
"It was certainly a disappointing ending, we should have done a better job protecting a two-goal lead, no question about that," Arena said. "I thought that for sixty five minutes or so we had real good control of the game, and then they came at us a little more aggressive and obviously that first goal they scored got them back into the game."
Following a largely defensive start to the game, Seattle morphed into an aggressive posture once Guatemalan midfielder Marco Pappa replaced Brad Evans on the right side of midfield in the 66th minute. With Pappa providing another dangerous weapon for the Galaxy to account for, LA's defense found itself stretched and unable to prevent Seattle from evening the score.
"Landon [Donovan] and Robbie Rogers did a poor job on closing the player on the right flank and when it was deflected, Gargan was out of position," said Arena recalling the defensive posture on the first goal. "Then on the second goal, Rogers could have gotten closer to the attacking player and Jaime [Penedo] has to be better."
While Arena was quick to take his team to task on their marking on Seattle's two goals, Donovan had a different take on the Galaxy's second-half collapse.
"I think we were a little too complacent. A lot of times at 2-0 you can defend a little and focus on that, but against a team like Seattle that is not good enough, we have to keep going and put on the pressure. We left our foot off the gas and they made us pay for it," said Donovan. "Against a lot of teams that is OK, we did that a little bit a few weeks ago with Toronto here and we were able to see the game out, but when you do it against Seattle you are playing with fire and we gave them much too much time and respect and it cost us."
Baggio Husidic agreed.
"We got a little lazy on a few of the plays," said Husidic. "I think that we got a little bit comfortable with the lead and let them get into it. Luckily, we were able to salvage a point. It'll be a very fun game against in Seattle. It's not the end of the world and it'll be certainly very entertaining."
To keep their hopes of the Supporters' Shield and home-field throughout the MLS Cup Playoffs alive, the Galaxy must recover quickly with a "return leg" in Seattle looming next Saturday. Although they'll enter one of most intimidating environments in MLS without the suspended Gonzalez, the Galaxy are confident that they can get the three points needed to secure their first Supporters' Shield since 2011.
"To say that you have to go into the last game and get the Supporters' Shield, that's fair enough," said Arena.
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