The LA Galaxy weren’t going to dominate every game the way they had in four of their past five encounters, but it’s rare that they are outclassed as thoroughly as they were Saturday night in Columbus.
The Crew were sharper, faster, more dangerous and in charge from start to finish en route to a 4-1 decision – the most lopsided Galaxy loss, the Manchester United friendly aside, since a five-goal mauling at New England 14.5 months ago.
LA were in contention until Ben Speas and Giancarlo Gonzalez netted late goals for the Crew, but they were never really in the game, even when Gyasi Zardes halved the deficit at the start of the second half.
"Bad performance all around," captain Robbie Keane told reporters in Ohio. "I think they were the better team. They controlled most of the game ... and they never really looked like they were going to lose."
- Match Recap: Classy goals lead Crew to rout of Galaxy
The Galaxy were a step slow all over the field, lost the midfield wars and too often failed to do what was required at the back. Give Columbus credit, they said.
Landon Donovan said that the Crew "wanted it more" and "scored some goals they might not score again this year" and that "finishing was the difference."
"As a starting point, we have to compete better," Donovan said. "If you don’t compete in this league, you don’t give yourself a chance to win. And, secondly, I think we didn’t do a good job figuring out the way they were playing and giving ourselves a chance to get around the ball and put them under pressure.
"We did it for a stretch at the beginning of the second half, where we did a better job, but we couldn’t sustain it, and that ended up being the difference."
The Galaxy created a half-dozen legitimate chances, the best to Zardes, who volleyed home a low Dan Gargan cross – his 10th goal of the season and ninth in the last ten games – to make it 2-1 in the 49th minute. But he then whiffed in the goalmouth while staring at an open net a minute before Gonzalez netted the Crew’s finale.
"They thoroughly outplayed us," coach Bruce Arena said. "Our passing on the night was poor, finishing was poor. ... A lot of the basics, we got beat on tonight.
"Give them credit. ... These things happen. Every team has a bad game, and this is certainly a bad game tonight."