LA Galaxy squander opportunity to clinch Audi 2016 MLS Cup playoff berth

CARSON, Calif. – The Seattle Sounders recorded their first victory at the StubHub Center since 2009, but despite the 4-2 scoreline, the mood in the LA Galaxy locker room was that this was a match that could have gone either way. 

In the end, the Galaxy rued missed chances and a missed opportunity to seal a berth in the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs.

“As odd as it might sound, I don’t think we played badly today,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “We actually had some terrific segments for long periods of time. Controlled, in some ways, the first half and just had a real good start to the second half. Things fell apart with that second goal for sure. We created some chances today. We could have had more goals. We shouldn’t have conceded as many, what can you say? A little sloppy at both ends and it adds up to a lot.”

“It didn’t feel like a four-goal against game,” said Landon Donovan, who came off the substitute’s bench in the 67th minute. “You have to give them [Seattle] credit, they made a few really good plays. Jordan [Morris] was terrific. Obviously, [Osvaldo Alonso's] goal is one in 100 and we didn’t do enough with the chances we had. That’s the way soccer is sometimes.”

Although Arena isn’t a fan of statistics and analytics, it was the rare occasion that the LA Galaxy outshot an opponent (20-12 and 9-6 on target), while completing 86 percent of their passes, including 76 in the final third.

They were rewarded when Robbie Keane gave the hosts the lead in the 20th minute, but an own goal by Jelle Van Damme 15 minutes later leveled the match even if the Galaxy were dominating the statistics.

As a result, for holding midfielder Jeff Larentowicz, it felt like an opportunity squandered.

“The goal in the first half, that own goal, that one kind of takes the wind out of our sails, because I thought we outplayed them,” Larentowicz said. “We were developing a lot of chances but then they get that goal and it gives them a bit of belief.”

Although the Galaxy failed to clinch a playoff berth at first asking, Larentowicz believes there is still a chance to take the Supporters Shield. 

“Colorado, we can’t do anything about them, but two games against Dallas, the last one at home,” Larentowicz  said. “Maybe that one shapes out to be a special one.”