The LA Galaxy's worst loss in more than four years stung, to be sure, but the vanquished were philosophical afterward, crediting luck and officiating – along with a subpar performance – for their result in Seattle.
“Obviously, not pleased with the result,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena told media following a 4-0 takedown against the Sounders in a critical Western Conference showdown Sunday night. “We played a good first half. I think it was a little unfortunate, because if a few calls went our way, it could have made a difference in the game.
“We didn't play well in the [box]. It was the difference in the game.”
The Galaxy were poor in both boxes. They created nearly nothing while watching Mauro Rosales, Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson repeatedly carve through their defense with a speed of thought and of play that they couldn't approach.
HIGHLIGHTS: SEA vs LA
It led to Johnson's header in the sixth minute, Montero's superb put-back seven minutes into the second half, Alex Caskey's heady empty-netter after an hour and Andy Rose's finish in the closing minutes. It was the fourth time the Galaxy have lost by a 4-0 scoreline – they did so in 2006 at New England and 2008 at Colorado and Dallas – and fell just shy of the worst MLS regular-season result in club history, a 5-0 debacle against the MetroStars back in 2002.
“It was the perfect storm,” Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said. “We started the game poorly, defending, all night we didn't attack well, the officiating was awful. It just seemed like everything went against us, and we didn't play well.”
The Galaxy was unhappy that referee Chris Penso failed to award a penalty kick in the 15th minute, when right back A.J. DeLaGarza slipped behind the Sounders' backline and appeared to be spilled by Leo Gonzalez.
“When refs miss penalties, it changes games,” Donovan said. “That obviously hurt, but it doesn't excuse us giving up three goals in the second half. ... We were just a little flat all over the field, a little slow. Our thought process wasn't quick enough, and we didn't react well enough defensively. It was just an all-around bad performance.”
Arena said LA was “a little unlucky, too, you know,” that they couldn't make more of nearly 57 percent possession. Had they gotten the call when DeLaGarza went down, or had Donovan or Robbie Keane finished from David Beckham's cross into the box in the 31st minute, it could have been a very different game.
Instead, it was over once Montero doubled the advantage.
“You never want to give up,” DeLaGarza told MLSsoccer.com. “I think a lot of us got tired after the second goal. Mentally and physically, we hit a wall. We weren't making five-yard passes that we should be able to make because of our legs, whatever it was, or our minds. We never want to finish a game like that, giving up four goals.”