Peter Vagenas

Galaxy fall to United 1-0 in Aloha Cup

HONOLULU - The Los Angeles Galaxy lost to D.C. United 1-0 in the inaugural Aloha Soccer Cup on a cool and very windy Saturday night at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. The match marked the first professional soccer game in Hawaii in 28 years, dating back to the final contest of the 1977 NASL season between Team Hawaii and the Cosmos. D.C. United forward Alecko Escandarian scored the game's lone goal on a penalty kick in the 36th minute.

Without starters Cobi Jones, Todd Dunivant and Jovan Kirovski due to injuries, Hawaiian soccer fans saw two Galaxy non-roster invitees in the starting lineup as midfielders Paulo Nagamura and Bechara de Olivera, who both hail from Brazil, began the match for the club.

In the first half, the L.A. Galaxy came out strong with the first scoring chance of the match coming off a header by Galaxy forward Carlos Ruiz. Midfielder Chris Albright, on the right wing, sent a hard cross into the box but Ruiz's attempt was saved by United goalkeeper Nick Rimando.

However, the match would become physical very quickly with a number of harsh tackles and yellow cards being issued early to the Galaxy's Paulo Nagamura and United's Alecko Eskandarian and Ben Olsen all in the first 20 minutes.

In the 22nd minute, the Galaxy's Carlos Ruiz was sprung behind the United backline off a pass from Bechara with defender Bryan Namoff on his back. Off his line, United's Rimando came out of the box and made a dangerous challenge on Ruiz, resulting in his being sent off with a straight red card.

As a resulted United head coach Peter Nowak substituted goalkeeper Troy Perkins into the match for Nick Van Sicklen, replacing the ejected Rimando in goal.

Despite being down a man, United battled back in the 35th minute with a give-and-go between Alecko Eskandarian and Jaime Moreno, putting the Bolivian striker into the box. Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman flew off his line and made the stop, but was whistled for the foul by Referee Kevin Stott.

On the ensuing penalty kick, Eskandarian beat the Galaxy's Hartman with a low shot inside the left post, giving United a 1-0 advantage.

In the second half, the Galaxy came out firing with back-to-back opportunities from defender Paul Broome and forward Joseph Ngwenya, but both shots were denied by United 'keeper Nick Rimando. From there on out it was a possession game for the Galaxy as they worked diligently to break down United's defense.

In the 75th minute, Ruiz nearly leveled the match with a brilliant effort to get open on the right side of the 18-yard box only to have his shot from eight yards deflected wide by an impressive save from United's Rimando.

With time running down, the Galaxy's last scoring chance was a dangerous direct kick located at the top of the box. Ruiz stepped up to take the shot, but had his effort deflected off the wall and collected by Rimando, securing United's victory.

On Sunday, Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman and defender Chris Albright will be flying back to Los Angeles to join the U.S. National Team for its training camp, which begins on Monday at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.

Next, the Galaxy travel back to Los Angeles, CA on Monday for three days of training before departing once again for Pamplona, Spain, where they are scheduled to play three games in 12 days, returning home March 16.

The Los Angeles Galaxy are pleased to once again offer fans "The Best Seats in the House" at The Home Depot Center. For the Galaxy's first two home games in 2005 (April 9 vs. Real Salt Lake and April 23 vs. CD Chivas USA), the club will be selling 100 seats along one touchline on a first-come, first-served basis. Each ticket costs $150 and includes a Decade of Stars t-shirt and the actual chair the fan sits in. For more information on "The Best Seats in the House" or to purchase tickets, call the Galaxy Ticket Office toll-free at 1-877-3GALAXY.

Scoring Summary:
LA - None
DC - Eskandarian (penalty kick) '36

D.C. United - Nick Rimando, David Stokes, Mike Petke, Bryan Namoff, Nick Van Sicklen (Troy Perkins '25), Christian Gomez (Freddy Adu '46), Brian Carroll, Josh Gros, Ben Olsen (Clyde Simms '60), Alecko Eskandarian, Jamie Moreno (Santino Quaranta '71).

Los Angeles Galaxy - Kevin Hartman, Chris Albright, Ugo Ihemelu, Tyrone Marshall (Michael Enfield '75), Paul Broome, Bechera de Olivera (Josh Gardner '39), Peter Vagenas, Paulo Nagamura, Ned Grabavoy, Carlos Ruiz, Joseph Ngwenya (Alan Gordon '56).

Attendance: 14,478
Weather: 65 degrees, cool and windy

Post-Game Quotes:

L.A. Galaxy Head Coach Steve Sampson

On the game:
"I thought that we played very well in the first half and completely dominated as far as ball control was concerned and up until the penalty kick had managed the game very well. After the red card, I thought that D.C. United did a good job of dropping in defensively, packing it in the back and playing very intelligently."

"I think that we created some very good chances in the second half and their goalkeeper came up very big on at least two occasions. So, we have to give them credit, they played very intelligently with ten men against eleven."

On who stood out in this game:
"We did have some bright spots in Ugo Ihemelu, who played exceptionally well and showed that he is a bright young talent that is going to do very well in this league. I thought that Paulo Nagamura at times showed some exceptional play having played two games in three days."

On what positives can be taken from this match:
"We are disappointed with the loss but it gives us a great measure on what we need to work on and these are the types of games that we need in order to make adjusts to get better. I was very happy to have the opportunity and we played against a very good D.C. United team."

L.A. Galaxy Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman

On the game:
"I thought that maybe we were just a little bit disappointed with the fact that we could not get on the score board today. But, it has been a good week here and the people of Hawaii have treated us very, very well and I look forward to the opportunity to come back."

On the penalty call:
"I felt like I got a lot of the ball in the challenge, so I was disappointed with the call but to be honest they had other opportunities as well so it was not like that was the only one."

L.A. Midfielder Peter Vagenas

On the game:
"Obviously, the final result was not what we wanted today, but two months from now no one is going to care about tonight. So, we obviously have to keep in mind that we are preparing for April 2nd. Again, we are disappointed because winning is a habit, so it is something that we need to turn around."