The LA Galaxy hosted their 22nd annual Fourth of July Celebration at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA, making it the longest running Fourth of July celebration in professional sports, but the night didn’t feel like much of a celebration as LA fell 6-2 to the visiting Real Salt Lake.
With only three days since the last MLS regular season matchup, a 2-1 road loss in San Jose on Saturday, July 1st, the LA Galaxy came into the match with a depleted lineup and tired legs, as 7 players started both games in such a short amount of time. Jelle Van Damme was suspended for this match, so Bradley Diallo, who was returning from injury, paired with Dave Romney in central defense. The only other major lineup change was Jack McInerney starting up top instead of Jack McBean.
The first dangerous attempt on goal was for the LA Galaxy in the 15th minute, as Ema Boateng took a shot on goal and beat RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando, but defender Aaron Maund was there to clear the ball off the line. Had that ball gone in, the night may have gone much differently, but it didn’t, so the rest of the match was very one sided in favor of Real Salt Lake.Albert Rusnak opened the scoring for RSL in the 36th minute, after minutes of heavy pressure from an RSL side who had not won on the road this season until this match. LA had a quick response in the 41st minute, as Ashley Cole chipped goalkeeper Rimando, tying the game at 1-1. Just before the break, Kyle Beckerman beat Clement Diop with a header on a corner kick, leading to a 2-1 scoreline in favor of RSL at the half.
Albert Rusnak opened the scoring for RSL in the 36th minute, after minutes of heavy pressure from an RSL side who had not won on the road this season until this match. LA had a quick response in the 41st minute, as Ashley Cole chipped goalkeeper Rimando, tying the game at 1-1. Just before the break, Kyle Beckerman beat Clement Diop with a header on a corner kick, leading to a 2-1 scoreline in favor of RSL at the half.
The second half was much more one-sided, as RSL slotted home four goals in an 18-minute span from the 62nd minute to the 80th minute, making the score 6-1 in the 80th minute. LA head coach Curt Onalfo attempted to slow the bleeding with several offensive-minded substitutions: Romain Alessandrini in for Jack McInerney in the 45th, Ariel Lassiter in for Ashley Cole in the 66th, and Jack McBean in for Jose Villarreal in the 72nd. Bradford Jamieson IV scored one more for the LA Galaxy in the 89th minute, leaving the final score at 6-2 RSL.
The post match commentary was full of words along the lines of “embarrassing” and “disappointing,” but Onalfo was very clear that the result was unacceptable and that the team would not rest on the excuses of injury and a busy schedule:“… we can’t make excuses. We are a group that we don’t make excuses we find solutions. There’s no doubt about it, we’re a tired group. It’s our 7th game in less than 3 weeks. We are without a lot of our veteran players, so we are relying on a younger group and we have a lot of injuries, but these younger guys have shown that they can do it before, so we can’t… We don’t make excuses, so, me as the coach, we don’t make excuses. Our players don’t make excuses. It’s unacceptable. We need to have a very short memory, get that out of our system very quickly. I know we need some mental and physical break and get back to business for the second half of the season.
The team is expected to take a couple days off to rest and recover and will begin their preparation for their next match on Monday, July 10th in San Jose against the San Jose Earthquakes for the next round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Hopefully, for the Galaxy, almost a full week in between games will be enough to rest some tired players and to bring a few of the injured players back into the mix of available players.