Bruce Arena took the blame after another late LA Galaxy collapse cost them three points in a stirring 3-2 loss to San Jose that seemed a mirror of last year's first California Clasico meeting.
The Galaxy, like in 2012, watched a two-goal lead disappear in the final minutes, conceding the equalizer and decisive goal in stoppage, with former LA forward Alan Gordon, like last year, heading home the winner.
“Poor play, a lack of intelligence by our team,” Arena said on the Galaxy's postgame telecast following Saturday night's clash at Stanford University. “To have a team of players and coaches that are that poor and stupid in the last five minutes of a game, that's my responsibility. It can't be on anybody else but me.
“I'm absolutely embarrassed at that performance. Give our opponent credit, you can't take that away, but our performance is embarrassing. It's disgraceful.”
The Galaxy were the dominant side most of the night and should have scored far more than they did, but Robbie Rogers, Gyasi Zardes, Marcelo Sarvas and Robbie Keane missed with expert chances, and that failure cost them heavily at the finish.
“The longer you play this game, the more you see games like that, where one team dominates and you don't score, and the next thing you know, you're on the losing end,” said Landon Donovan, who teamed with Keane to create both LA goals, by Sarvas in the 20th minute and Hector Jimenez in the 65th. “It's a tough lesson to learn. We should know better, but when you don't score goals, you always keep teams around, and we did that tonight.”
The Galaxy have done so all season, conceding 13 goals in the final 15 minutes of league games and another four in the CONCACAF Champions League, costing them nine points, chances of comebacks in two matches and a shot at the CCL final series. They've lost twice in stoppage, another MLS game in the 87th minute, conceded an 84th-minute winner in another, and lost two points after conceding an 89th-minute equalizer.
Shea Salinas pulled San Jose even, pouncing on a loose rebound in the 92nd minute, and Gordon netted his second goal of the game on a 93rd-minute header after LA's defense left him and Adam Jahn alone at the left post.
What could the Galaxy have done better?
“I don't even want to go into that,” Arena said. “If you have an IQ of 50, you can figure that out. That game, we should win that going away at the end of the game. It's embarrassing, our performance at the end of the game. That's all on me. That's my responsibility with this team.”