LA Galaxy say draw with Chivas USA feels like a loss, but quick to give opponents credit
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy weathered a difficult first 20 minutes, conceded a goal, then took charge of Sunday's SuperClasico, dictating terms until the finish.
It was worth just a point, and the 1-1 draw with Chivas USA – like so many results this season – left them rather frustrated.
"Not a good result for us," head coach Bruce Arena said afterward. "We squandered a few chances. There were chances for us to get a few more goals, and at the end of the day, that's the game.
"You could see we controlled the game for long periods of time, but you've got to get a goal. The goals were out there for us, and we didn't connect."
The Galaxy (4-3-5) outshot Chivas, 21-6, and held more than 65 percent possession, but they couldn't break down the Goats' bunker and dropped two more points they probably deserved, making for 11 lost so far.
Landon Donovan said it felt like defeat.
"I think we expected to win the game, and I think we played well enough to probably win the game," he said, "but at the end, we didn't put enough pressure, create quite enough chances, and give them credit. They played, I think, the best game they've played all year, and we've got to give them credit, too."
Chivas came out with energy and were the better team until Erick "Cubo" Torres provided a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute. The Galaxy then altered their formation, ditching the diamond for a flat 4-4-2 formation, pushing Donovan to forward and Gyasi Zardes onto the flank.
From that point, the game was played largely between the midfield stripe and the Goats' goal. Dan Kennedy denied them in the 27th minute – pushing Donovan's chip off the right post and snaring Marcelo Sarvas' rebound header – and Zardes scored the equalizer in the 35th. And that, more or less, was it.
"You put 10, 11 guys behind the ball, it's going to be difficult," Donovan said. "We didn't do a good enough job moving, creating space, and our final cross and shot let us down a little bit. Obviously, missing Robbie [Keane] hurts. So those factors played into it, and that's the way it goes."
The formation change made things "more easy for me and Juninho," Sarvas said, "and I think the ideas were a little more clear into the last, final third. Then we got there and I think we stopped. We got there a lot in the game, many times we had chances to cross balls, but not with good ideas. I think we were unable to be aggressive in the final third, and that cost us a little bit."
Chivas' approach, they said, deserved praise.
"Let's face it, they did a good job," Arena said. "They dropped and played pretty deep and kept everything in front of them. They had numbers behind the ball, and the execution with the last pass or the shots, some reluctancy at times to shoot the ball, the crossing at times was not good or should have been there and wasn't.
"All those things make a difference against a team that's going to defend with numbers. A draw for them is a victory, you know? They're not going to come out of that shell unless you execute a little bit better, and we didn't do that."