Defensive errors have been costly all year -- and all of last year, too -- for the LA Galaxy, who figure they've let nine points get away from them in their first eight games.
They let two more go Saturday night, when they gave the Houston Dynamo a 1-0 victory with a particularly appalling mistake.
Goalkeeper Jaime Penedo couldn't handle Dan Gargan's ill-advised throw-in, and Mark Sherrod took advantage, feeding Gilles Barnes for a side-footed blast that went off the right post and into the back of the net in the 61st minute.
That's all the Dynamo needed, and it was all they were going to get.
"Just a very disappointing result," head coach Bruce Arena said on the club's postgame telecast. "Certainly the way we positioned ourselves to concede a goal is terrible. I mean, bad judgment on the part of Dan Gargan. Jaime obviously didn't do well. It was going to be hard for that team to get a goal tonight."
LA (2-3-3) hasn't won since April 12, going 0-2-2 on a road swing that easily could have provided eight points. The defeat leaves them alone in the Western Conference cellar.
Sherrod's pass and Barnes' finish were exemplary, and so was how LA's defenders got into place to make it tough for the Dynamo forward. Everything else was comically awful.
Gargan took the throw in on the right flank, opposite the Galaxy box, and when he saw Penedo wave toward him, he thought the keeper was calling for the ball.
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"I was trying to communicate with my teammate to hold the ball, because I was getting a cramp, which I got from a previous play," Penedo told reporters in Houston. "To be honest with you, I wasn’t expecting the ball, but that is no excuse, and I work hard to try and fix those types of plays, but it is sad to lose a game like that."
Said Gargan: "Ultimately, it's my decision, and I should have thrown the ball up the field."
Penedo would have probably been better served had he tried to catch the ball. Instead, he tried to control it with his feet, and it caromed off his right leg.
"We have to do better," Robbie Keane said on the telecast. "Most of our goals [conceded] -- nearly all of them -- have been from mistakes, so we give people opportunities like that in a game, they're going to take it. ... It's no one's fault. Whatever happened happened, and we have to stop doing it fairly quickly, because it's happened too many times."