CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy's tumble down the ladder to fourth place in the Western Conference after Seattle's victory Sunday was marked by plenty of regret over what they should have done but didn't when they were in command of Saturday's showdown with Real Salt Lake.
LA could have had a couple of goals before Robbie Keane broke the deadlock with a 17th-minute volley, and their failure to procure more from that initial push proved costly after Fabián Espíndola scored twice in quick succession and RSL's defense quickly clamped down en route to a 2-1 decision at the Home Depot Center.
“I thought we started the game very well,” midfielder David Beckham said. “I think we had a lot of chances in a short space of time, which, unfortunately, we didn’t put away. When you play against a team like Salt Lake, you have to be on it. I think we made a couple of mistakes leading up to the goals, and it let them back in. They’re a good team and when you give good teams a little chance, then they capitalize on it.”
Head coach Bruce Arena was critical of “sloppy defending in our penalty area” and said the Galaxy weren't “real sharp with our attacking play,” and Landon Donovan insisted that the team missed some crucial opportunities to blow the game open after Keane staked them to an early lead.
“I think we're just a little disappointed in the game in general,” said Donovan, who departed after injuring his left knee with about 10 minutes remaining. “That was a pretty good first half, and we fell asleep for a few minutes, and Espíndola made a couple of good plays. It was frustrating, and I thought we had some really good chances.
“They were scrambling a bit and made some last-ditch blocks and kind of dodged the bullet,” he added.
LA need to be sharper in their final two games – Oct. 21 at San Jose and the following week in a regular-season finale at home against Seattle – if they're going to avoid conference’s first-round knockout game.
“This game didn’t go the way we wanted it, but we’re still in the playoffs,” defender Omar Gonzalez said. “I think we certainly want the wins, but now is the time to start get the little things right. Tonight we got punished on those plays; next game we can’t make those mistakes, and we’ve got to be on the entire game.”