The LA Galaxy's end-of-game deficiencies cost them another point Saturday night, when they dropped a 2-1 decision at Portland after conceding a stoppage-time goal on a corner kick.
Andrew Jean-Baptiste's header was the eighth stoppage-time goal LA (9-8-3) has surrendered this season and the 15th they've conceded from the 76th minute on. In all, they've given away 10 points – enough to put them on top in the Supporters' Shield race – and sit fourth in the West, seven points off Real Salt Lake's lead and in danger of falling to fifth on Sunday.
“It's inexcusable,” right back Sean Franklin told reporters afterward. “It's been the story of our season, giving away late goals. It's been a pattern for us, and we've got to be OK with getting a point.”
The Galaxy's drive for three points has hurt them on several occasions, and their inability once again to shut things down in the final minutes and collect a draw is a troubling sign after their protestations that they'd learned their lesson the last time this occurred – in a 3-2 loss two weeks ago in San Jose – and the times before that.
LA's inability to finish chances again played a role, as did former Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts' phenomenal play in Portland's net. When the final moments came, they were still pushing forward in search of a winning strike, and it cost them when Portland countered and won a corner kick that Diego Valeri delivered onto Jean-Baptiste's head.
“I don't know if it's an issue [with this team],” goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini said. “Definitely, we have lost too many games like that, and it hurts. Everyone on this team is fighting hard to try to get, especially away from home, with three points. And today was a big example. We had a chance to come away in a difficult place with points, and we didn't.”
Captain Robbie Keane was asked to explain what happened.
“I can't. What do you want me to say? I can't explain it,” he said. “It's happened again. It's happened so many times this year, so certainly didn't expect it to happen again. Tonight we played well and certainly didn't deserve to lose the game, but the last kick of the game, same old story.”