The LA Galaxy aren't blaming their failure to hold two leads in Sunday's 2-2 draw at San Jose on anyone but themselves, but that doesn't mean they were happy with the officiating.
A phantom foul that spilled prime antagonist Steven Lenhart and led to the Earthquakes' first goal, the officials' seeming failure to crack down on San Jose's disruptive play off the ball and referee Jair Marrufo's apparent refusal to converse with captain Robbie Keane irritated the Galaxy, who were slotted into the No. 4 seed — and a Knockout Round assignment against Vancouver — with their failure to snag the three points they believe they deserved.
“We should have got three points today,” head coach Bruce Arena told reporters afterward. “We should have won today.”
Defender Omar Gonzalez, who ripped the Quakes' approach to the game, said Marrufo should have done more to protect the Galaxy.
“I think everyone in the game should be aware of what the game is going to be like from the beginning,” he said. “The players sure knew what was going to happen, but it seemed every time we looked at the referees, they act like they didn't see anything, or they just turned a blind eye and said, 'You're doing the same thing,' but [we're] not.
“I think the league should do a better job about protecting the players, you know?” Gonzalez added. “Because there's times I'm going up for the ball, I've got one guy that I'm handling and then I get hit in the side by another guy. A lot of injuries can happen that way, and I think the players need to be protected as [much] as worrying about the referee's pride. There's too many times players and coaches say things, and they get fined and they get suspended, but the referee goes unscathed, and nothing happens to them.”
Striker Robbie Keane's complaint was that he couldn't talk to Marrufo about not “getting decisions we certainly think we should have.”
“As captain, I asked for the ref to speak; for some reason, he wouldn't speak to me,” Keane said. “I was asking him questions. But he was OK when the lads over there [with San Jose] came and spoke to him … questions in Spanish. He'd speak back to them, but I'm sorry, I don't speak Spanish.”
One of the game's most prominent decisions was a 61st-minute foul assessed to Gonzalez, who replays indicated was tripped by Lenhart, which set up the free kick Marvin Chávez bent inside the left post. Arena called it “all part of the game.”
“I have to imagine if the referee had to call that play over again, he probably wouldn't call the foul the way he called it,” the Galaxy coach said. “But that's life, what are you going to do? In this league, if you're going to spend a lot of time complaining about the officiating, you're going to drive yourself crazy, and it's not worth it. We were still in position to get three points, and we didn't do that.”