CARSON, Calif. -- Bruce Arena was left fuming as he saw his LA Galaxy side crash out of the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup on two corner kick goals in the final five minutes of extra time, including the winner on the final play of the game.
“Well certainly frustrating,” was Arena’s initial reaction to FC Dallas' 2-1 victory on Wednesday. “We did a terrible job in the last five minutes of the game and lost the game after working our [butts] off for 115 minutes. It’s really a naive performance at the end of the game.”
The Galaxy took the lead in the first extra time period on a penalty by Mike Magee, but could not hold on for the entirety of the match. After Victor Ulloa prodded home Dallas' second goal in the 121st minute, Arena could be seen tapping his watch in the direction of the referee.
When asked if he was frustrated with the additional minute given at the end of the overtime period, the Galaxy coach responded, “I think that’s one of the things in our sport that has to change. The referee has too much power in those situations. That’s where you should actually, you talk about technology and all that stuff. You should just have a clock and that’s it. Extra time can be a time scandal. It’s not that I’m saying it was there, but there’s no injuries or anything like that.”
“But having said that, we have to take full responsibility for conceding two goals in the last five minutes on corner kicks,” he continued.
In the locker room, Arena told his players that they need to accept responsibility for failing in that situation.
Center back Dave Romney stepped up and took ownership after the game.
“The first one we were just zoning and there was too much space between me and [center back partner Leonardo],” he said. "I've just got to man up and be bigger there. That’s on me. [Dallas' first scorer Matt] Hedges just squeezes in between us and kind of gets his body in there.”
“And then the second one is just, we have four guys in that spot. [Ulloa] just attacks the ball and beats us again.”
“I just saw both replays and it’s really frustrating, because those goals are so preventable. Everything leading up to the corner kicks. Everything with the corner kicks, it’s just not good enough.”