CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy were perhaps the most feared team in the league in 2011. They weren’t able to carry that title even a month into the 2012 season.
“We knew how good we were last year and we knew that teams feared us last year,” Galaxy defender Sean Franklin said on Saturday night. “I don’t think no one fears us this year.”
New England became the latest squad to knock LA around in what’s become an unhappy title defense, leaving The Home Depot Center with a 3-1 victory over a Galaxy side that lost by the same scoreline to Real Salt Lake here just three weeks ago.
Nearly airtight in 2011, the Galaxy’s defense has been anything but in 2012. They’ve allowed 11 goals in all competitions thus far, all but two of them coming at home. It was also the third time they yielded more than one goal at home; in 2011, the Galaxy allowed more than one goal in a home game just once, a span stretching across 23 games in all competitions.
HIGHLIGHTS: LA vs NE
“Teams are coming in here to our home, which they didn’t do last year, and beat us and that’s something that we can’t do,” Franklin said. “The positive about it is that we have 30-something games left in our season but we’ve got to get things right.”
That the Revs played the Galaxy tough was no surprise. New England won all three meetings in LA from 2006-08 and pulled out a 1-1 draw in LA’s 2011 season opener.
But the manner in which the Revs got their first two goals was troubling. In the 10th minute, Shalrie Joseph sent a cross into the middle of the box that got over A.J. DeLaGarza’s head. Kelyn Rowe had his first shot parried, but eventually pushed home the rebound after no one had reacted to ‘keeper Josh Saunders’ point-blank save.
Three minutes later, Kevin Alston raced into the penalty area and slipped a ball across the box for Chris Tierney, who put it past Saunders to give the Revs a quick 2-0 lead.
The Revs put yet another one past the Galaxy in the 65th minute when Ryan Guy found Saer Sene in front of goal.
“Kelyn Rowe is 5-foot-7 and he’s getting behind our backline on a cross,” DeLaGarza said. "And the second one, their left back is scoring a goal inside our box. That’s unacceptable. On the third one, obviously, it’s a cross and coming in and not marking or someone getting a head on it … It’s a marking issue. As center backs, we have to pick up a man, no matter what.”
From the opening whistle the Galaxy were lacking cohesion and allowed the Revs to move the ball around, at times seemingly at will. To try and shake things up, head coach Bruce Arena took David Beckham and Marcelo Sarvas out at halftime.
“Felt we needed to make a change in the midfield,” Arena said. “Purely a coach’s decision. I couldn’t change 11 players, that’s what I told the team at halftime. If I had 11 substitutions I would have considered that.”
Beckham’s removal was perhaps surprising, as he had two free kicks on goal that caused trouble for Revs 'keeper Matt Reis. Beckham did not speak to reporters after the match.
While the English superstar may have been frustrated at his removal, Arena said the match came down to other factors.
“Hopefully he’s ready to be part of the next game,” Arena offered. “I’m sure he’s not pleased about it but that’s not the issue in the game. The issue for the game was 11 players for New England soundly outplayed the 11 players for the Galaxy."
Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org