CARSON, Calif. — Bruce Arena’s frustration was evident within seconds of the final whistle of the LA Galaxy’s 2-1 collapse against Monterrey in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal here on Wednesday night. The Galaxy manager lobbed a curt wave to his Monterrey counterpart, Víctor Manuel Vucetich, and then strode toward the locker room without so much as a handshake for anyone.
His mood was no better in the postmatch press conference, as he expressed his disappointment in his side’s inability to hold on for the win, or even the tie.
“A little bit more experience, a little bit more quality, we win this game by a couple goals,” he said. “But we end up losing.”
The Galaxy were in control for much of the match, after taking a lead in the 28th minute through A.J. DeLaGarza. They should’ve doubled the lead in the 67th, but Robbie Keane’s point-blank chance was tipped wide by Monterrey goalkeeper Juan de Díos Ibarra.
“We were well positioned to get a second goal, maybe a third goal,” Arena said. “We had our chances to win this game tonight.”
But they didn’t. Monterrey stormed back with goals from Humberto Suazo in the 82nd minute and Aldo de Nigris in the 90th. Both goals were conceded rather cheaply, particularly the first one, as the Galaxy pressed for the second goal to give themselves a bigger cushion heading into the second leg.
Instead, Monterrey took advantage of the spaces left behind by the out-of-position Galaxy players. They now enjoy a formidable advantage heading into the second leg.
Which is what has Arena most frustrated.
“There are clear lessons for our team: the kind of concentration you need, the experience, the tactical understanding,” he said. “So what if we don’t get the second goal? You win the game 1-0. That’s so obvious, and we didn’t do the job we needed to do. If we don’t concede, we walk away with a win tonight and position ourselves better to go into Monterrey. Now going into Monterrey is obviously going to be very difficult.”