The LA Galaxy happily accepted a point following a subpar performance Sunday afternoon in 90-plus degrees in Chicago, and then several among them -- especially captain Robbie Keane and head coach Bruce Arena -- expressed their frustration with the scheduling of a game in the afternoon heat.
The hight temperatures and high humidity made for a sluggish clash with few chances, and Keane proclaimed following the 1-1 draw that perhaps the game never should have begun.
“We shouldn't have played the game, to be honest with you,” the Irishman said on the Galaxy's postgame telecast. “It's like whoever makes these decisions, the MLS or whoever it is, they have never kicked a soccer ball in their whole life [and then they] make a decision to play a game on the hottest day of the year,in the afternoon.
“Why play at? Play at , , when it's cool, so the game can actually play and people can actually play properly. Everyone's complaining, our players and their players.”
Galaxy defender Dan Gargan was forced to depart just before halftime because of the heat's effects.
"No player wants to play in that humidity," Keane told the media after the match. "Everyone was affected by the heat."
The Galaxy's goal-scorer, Landon Donovan, recognized the difficulty of playing a mid-afternoon match, but admitted that it comes with the job.
“That’s the way the league is at times," he said. "There are games where it is ugly. You play during the day, it’s hot, the field is slow and that kind of stuff happens. You have to have the character and the resolve to find a way to get a result, and we did that today.”
Arena noted that Keane “always struggles in this kind of heat” and that the other European in the squad, Swede Stefan Ishizaki, found the conditions difficult, too. Ishizaki said he was unable to catch his breath or make a run for a 10-minute stretch of the first half, then felt fine the rest of the way.
Robbie Rogers, who provided the assist on Donovan's goal, insisted he was fine. “You'll never find me complaining that it's too hot,” he said on the postgame show, though he later noted that he played only 60 minutes, "which is a bit different, and it was hotter in the first 20 minutes of the game and you could tell guys were tired on both teams.”
Arena, like Keane, questioned the scheduling of mid-afternoon games in the summer in Chicago.
“This is not fair for the players,” Arena told reporters at the stadium. "It's not good for the fans either. We shouldn't be playing this game at this time. That was a difficult, difficult game for the players to deal with.”