LA Galaxy's offense sputters in season-ending defeat to RSL: "We needed other guys to step up"
SANDY, Utah -- The LA Galaxy had little to offer in attack Thursday night, putting just two of their 21 shots on target. As Omar Gonzalez noted following a season-ending 2-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake: “You're not going to score if you do that, right?”
LA had lots of shots but very few reasonable chances to put them away, and the cost was severe: The Galaxy lost in their playoff opener for the first time since 2003 and dropped their first home-and-home MLS playoff series since Bruce Arena took charge near the end of the 2008 season.
“We had a number of decent breaks, we got the ball in some good positions a number of times, but we got no production,” said Landon Donovan, who never seriously threatened to hit the net. “It's good to get a bunch of corners, but at some point we've got to get some guys in front of the goal and give ourselves a chance to score. I don't think we did that well enough tonight.”
The Galaxy did a far better job of that in Sunday's first-leg victory, but they didn't finish most of the chances they had. This time they never had such opportunities and the result was a 2-1 aggregate loss in their Western Conference Semifinals series vs. Real Salt Lake.
“We really had our opportunity on Sunday to have a cushion coming here and didn't do it,” Arena said after the extra time defeat at Rio Tinto Stadium. “[Donovan and Robbie Keane] were not factors tonight for us.”
Some of that was product of RSL's superb defensive work. They badgered LA's attackers all night, limiting space and pressuring the ball all over the field. Donovan wasn't bad on the break but offered little near the goal. Keane provided very little.
“I think we all knew they were going to focus on Robbie and myself, so it was incumbent upon the other guys to sort of make some plays,” Donovan said. “Robbie and I couldn't pull a rabbit out of the hat tonight, so we needed some other guys to step up and make plays. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.”
Added Keane: “I don't think the whole team did enough tonight. It's not about individuals. You can't always expect me and Landon are going to do something. We're going to have off nights throughout the whole season. We didn't have any chances like we did the other night, but that's the way it goes.”
Gonzalez noted that LA had good looks but “weren't sharp enough in the final third, and I guess for both legs we just weren't sharp enough, because we couldn't score at home, and now we couldn't score here.”
Is there a larger statement here?
“We created chances,” winger Robbie Rogers said. “That's, I guess, the difference between great players and mediocre players is when [great players] get those chances, they finish them. We just weren't good enough.”