ORLANDO, Fla. – Curt Onalfo was frustrated at the LA Galaxy’s failure to see out Saturday’s clash with Orlando City SC, but he wasn’t ready to pronounce his team bad travelers after the last-gasp 2-1 defeat that made it 15 cross-country games without a win in the past four years.
The last time the Galaxy collected all three points on a visit to the Eastern Time Zone was at Philadelphia on May 15, 2013. They have now lost 4-0 and 2-1 in their two visits to Orlando, while last year saw them go 0-3-1 on long-distance trips. In all, LA’s record is 0-9-6 in that four-year period in that time zone, while they are 15-0-3 against Eastern Time Zone foes at home.
“I just think it’s hard,” Onalfo said. “You’re traveling all the way across the country and it’s tough. Having said that, we needed to do a better job once we scored the equalizer. That’s where we need to be smarter and not allow them back in the game.
“We just have to get into our blocks better, defend better, and not even get to the point where they get the corner kick [for the winner]. So if people want to appoint the blame to that, I don’t. It’s still early in the season and we have to learn from these things, and that’s what we’ll do.”
The Galaxy certainly had their chances, outshooting Orlando 18-12 in the final tally and pushing the home team back consistently in the lead-up to Romain Alessandrini’s pile-driving equalizer. But one lapse on a 91st-minute corner kick allowed Cyle Larin to score the winner on an otherwise quiet day for the Canadian striker.
“We worked extremely hard to get back in the game,” Onalfo insisted. “To concede like that is difficult to swallow, because we put in a good performance and showed a lot of character to get back in it. Conceding that late is disappointing.”
Onalfo took some comfort from his French star’s sizzling form of four goals in the past three games.
“Yes, he’s just what we thought [he’d be],” the Galaxy boss said of Alessandrini. “He works extremely hard, keeps grinding, keeps getting better and he definitely has the scoring touch.”
Alessandrini also drew praise from Lions head coach Jason Kreis, who believes the 28-year-old is a sparkling addition to the league.
“He’s a very intelligent attacking player, in one-v-one situations as well as combination play,” Kreis observed. “He puts himself in the right spots to make passes and he strikes a very good ball with both feet, so it is another really gifted attacking player for our league and I think it’s great. We need to continue to look for those types of players and bring them here.”
After all the hype about Orlando’s new stadium, Onalfo confirmed it makes for a tough challenge for visiting teams. City have won all four of their games in their new digs.
“Certainly at the beginning of the game it was a big influence,” Onalfo said. “I think it helped them with the energy they put into it and obviously towards the end as well. It is a heck of an atmosphere. But we can’t afford to give them chances where the crowd gets excited – those are the things we have to do better.”