Most of the time, the LA Galaxy is really good. You don’t stumble your way toward “two-time defending champion” status, after all.
But Bruce Arena’s club can sometimes get a little entitled. Honestly, it doesn’t happen as much as two or three years ago, but every now and then little puffs of entitlement smoke drift up from the Galaxy bench area.
We saw it yesterday in the 5-0 loss to New England. Some of the Galaxy figures point to New England’s second goal as the turning point, where an afternoon that still held some potential for a point – the Galaxy had played fairly well to that point – got away from them.
To their point, the officiating crew did probably need to better communicate. But there is a universal truth that every player worth his wait in orange slices was taught from the moment they began kicking a ball: You play to the whistle.
The Galaxy did not – so all their protests following Lee Nguyen’s goal look like a bunch of sour grapes.
The very short version of what happened is here: In the 70th minute, Landon Donovan and New England rookie Andrew Farrell got tangled along the sideline. The linesman indicated throw-in, but the referee Fotis Bazakos clearly signaled New England free kick. While the Galaxy argued, Diego Fagundez wisely took a quick free kick that led do Nguyen’s goal.
Galaxy players and manager Bruce Arena went nuts … but they were guilty of not attempting to slow the restart and getting organized defensively. Period.
Donovan was still complaining after the match, apparently not understanding how it looks to complain about one goal among five.
As for the complete defensive collapse from there, well, they did cop to that one, at least. Rightly so, because there is no excuse for allowing five in something that looked like a discouraged burst of “give-up.”