One step back: LA Galaxy bemoan "sloppy" play in 2-2 draw against Portland Timbers
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy were elated to rally for a late 2-2 draw against the Portland Timbers, but they were frustrated to be in that situation after letting a 65th-minute lead slip away Friday night.
It was a step backward from last weekend's gritty victory at San Jose, reward for what they called their most complete performance of the campaign. This time they lacked the requisite concentration and energy, and it prevented them from nabbing all three points at StubHub Center.
Marcelo Sarvas gave the Galaxy a 65th-minute lead, and a slow-paced battle was played at a frenetic pace the rest of the way, with the Timbers feasting on poor clearances to go ahead by the 70th minute, and a Rauwshan McKenzie own goal in the 86th, from Baggio Husidic's ball, dividing up the points.
"I think we miss what we had last game, you know?" said Sarvas, who also hit the post with a swerving first-half shot. "More players competing more [in San Jose; the Timbers] had too much time with the ball -- everybody had too much time with the ball.
"We were out of position, late in the plays in the game, so for [some stretches] you see the Galaxy that everyone expects -- tight, pressing, biting -- and most of the time we were just jogging around. So we paid for that."
Head coach Bruce Arena was unhappy that his team was "sloppy throughout the game."
"The effort was not consistent over the 90 minutes," Arena said. "For us to have that kind of energy in the last 15 minutes and get an equalizer, and not have that energy for the entire game, is a little disappointing.
"I think we lost our concentration a little bit. We did a real sloppy job in defense on a couple crosses that cost us goals, and to [Portland's] credit, they did a good job. ... However, the effort to get a point out of the game is terrific."
The Galaxy's focus waned at the most important juncture, right after Sarvas' goal. Diego Valeri netted the equalizer after a blocked header rolled his way in the 67th minute, and Jorge Villafaña fired the Timbers ahead three minutes later, after a blocked shot rolled his way following a weak clearance.
"It's mentally [an issue]," Sarvas said. "Of course, everyone has to be 100 percent into the game. If you are 70 percent, is not good enough. [The Timbers are] a very good team, play very good with the ball, have good players. So it has to be 100 percent of the game."
That was Robbie Keane's message.
"We certainly know that you have to be focused and concentrated for 90 minutes," the Galaxy captain said. "It still wasn't a great performance from us, we've done OK, but I still don't think we've been firing on all cylinders, definitely no. ...
"We're not doing as well as we would certainly like to. But as long as you're not losing games, I think that's important as well. Losing can be a habit sometimes. Four points over the last two games; we certainly expected to get six."
Scott French covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com