CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy's frustration is peaking after they surrendered another lead near the finish Tuesday night, settling for a 2-2 draw with the visiting Colorado Rapids to extend their winless skid to three games following that two-month, nine-game unbeaten run.
Ashley Cole and Sebastian Lletget provided the home side with leads, the second coming in the 77th minute. But Edgar Castillo's scorcher overcame one deficit and he fed Niki Jackson for an 82nd-minute equalizer that gave the Rapids seven points in their last three outings.
Defensive letdowns, an overriding theme this season, were pivotal on both Rapids goals, and LA let leads slip away for the sixth time this season and for the third game in a row.
“It's not good. It's not good defensively,” said Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid, who was without injured Giovani Dos Santos (calf) and Romain Alessandrini (knee) and lost Jonathan Dos Santos (groin) in the first half and center back Michael Ciani (hamstring tightness) at halftime. “It deals a little bit with mentality, it deals with our organization, it deals with our communication on the field. [It's] not tactics, [it's] effort. We need more from them.
“We have the defenders we have. We weren't able to in the transfer window add anybody, because we didn't have the room or the finances to do it, we didn't have the roster space to do it. It's difficult. These guys have to step up, and we have to figure it out. We're not going to get to playoffs by going one point at a time.”
Said Zlatan Ibrahimovic: “Everybody talk about the playoffs. The way we play now, we don't even deserve playoffs.”
Colorado (6-12-6) had far more of the ball and were organized defensively, limiting LA the kind of chances they had been generating, and head coach Anthony Hudson, in the midst of a rebuilding project, was “incredibly pleased” with what his team achieved at StubHub Center.
“I'm just incredibly proud of how the team has been working over the last five or six games,” said Hudson, whose team rallied to beat the Galaxy 10 days earlier in Commerce City. “I think it was important when we came into this game tonight, we have to start backing ourselves and believing in what we're doing and showing confidence. I think we did that tonight.
“We came here and from start to finish, really, we were the better team. We controlled the game. I'm pleased for the players, because we needed that.”
The Galaxy (10-8-7), who saw two Ola Kamara goals waved off on clear offside offenses, won't argue with anything Hudson said, and they're disheartened. Three nights earlier, they watched Minnesota United rally twice from deficits for a 2-2 draw at StubHub.
“It's just like déjà vu,” Lletget said. “We just lived that the other day, and the same thing happened. We just can't finish off games. I know it's a tie, but it's unacceptable.”
Cole, the Galaxy's captain, noted that “maybe we're not giving our all fighting for every ball and every tackle, and sometimes it shows in the way we concede goals. We're all over the place at times.
“Maybe we're too soft on each other. We have a lot of experienced players. We can all take criticism, we can all take a kick in the ass. Sometimes it's needed, so, yeah, I think it's needed now. It's coming to the crucial part of the season. We have to find a place in the playoffs, minimum, and picking up the odd point I don't think is going to be enough. We need to start winning games.”
The Galaxy are fourth in the West with 37 points, behind Portland on goal difference, but had they held onto leads the past three games, they'd be atop the West with 44, two ahead of first-place FC Dallas.
“It's very irritating,” said Ibrahimovic, who noted that his only chances the past two games were on free kicks, two of which “hit the bird outside the stadium.”
“This is the moment you show everyone you want to be in the playoffs,” he said. “This is the game you kill. The opponent is not better than us, but they are better organized, they play better than us, and they want to play. They're on their toes and they are in the field and playing. We're doing everything opposite.”