The LA Galaxy were fuming after watching the Portland Timbers rally for a last-minute 1-1 draw, angry that they didn't get a call that would have secured a victory and then couldn't close out the game as required.
Robbie Keane's opportunistic goal two minutes into second-half stoppage should have been enough to give all three points to the Galaxy (2-2-3), but there was no whistle and no red card when Juninho was muscled off the ball on the breakaway that followed, and Diego Valeri gave the Timbers (1-3-6) the point with an equalizer in the final moments.
LA was happy with how things went, the result aside.
“Our team played very well,” head coach Bruce Arena told reporters in Portland. “I think you can talk about it all you want, the referee needs to give us that call on Juninho -- it's at least a foul, red card/yellow card, whatever, and then we've got to manage the game better in the end.
“Listen, we fell asleep at the end of the game. A bunch of guys can do better on the play, but we played very well today, should have walked away with three points.”
The Galaxy dictated terms most of the way in a vibrant encounter, outshooting the Timbers, 21-10, and forcing Donovan Ricketts to make four big stops before Keane nodded home a long Dan Gargan throw-in in the 92nd minute.
Juninho might have added to the lead when he raced 1-on-1 toward Ricketts for at least 40 yards two minutes later, but Darlington Nagbe tracked him down, nudging him to the ground. Referee Armando Villarreal waved play on, and Valeri netted the equalizer a minute later.
That's five points the Galaxy have conceded on late goals after losing 15 last year at the end of games.
“We can stand here and just make excuses,” Keane said. “We shouldn't have conceded the goal, there's no question about that. In the last few seconds, you have to be stronger and not concede a goal.
“Some of the decisions today from the officials, certainly the ref -- and certainly the linesman [Baboucarr Jallow] on Juni's, he has to see that. There's no question, he's right in line with it. I would say it's more the linesman in that situation that the referee, because [Villarreal is] chasing the play like everybody else. So some poor decisions, but we have to accept and take responsibility ourselves, because the last minute of the game, we shouldn't be conceding a goal.”
Arena acknowledged the Galaxy might have given their best performance of the season, and others agreed.
“I thought we played extremely well today, thought we dominated in every facet of the game,” Landon Donovan said. “[Portland] really had no business getting anything out of that game. Our goal at the end was absolutely what we deserved, and then still trying to figure out how that wasn't a foul called on Juninho. Referees are human, they make mistakes, and I'm sure when both Armando and the linesman look at it again, they're going to feel bad about it. ...
“I think we felt great about how we played. There's not a lot of teams that come in here and completely batter them the way we did today. So we can take some positives from that, but at the end of the day, this is a results business, and we let two points slip away today.”