LA Galaxy dredge up memories of 2015 as they give up a stoppage time goal to lose on the road.
Commerce, CO – for 94 minutes the LA Galaxy’s defense held strong. It was only with 10 seconds left in stoppage time that a flubbed clearance from Daniel Steres, making just his 2nd MLS start, led to a goal from Rapids substitute Marco Pappa. Pappa took a full volley shot and beat goalkeeper Brian Rowe to win all 3 points for Colorado in their home opener.
“We were just trying to bunker down and see out the end of the game. The ball just happened to pop up and spin. We should have got it out a little further, but just a bad clearance spun off my head, fell right to their guy and quite a finish.” Daniel Steres, LA Galaxy Defender
The LA Galaxy traveled to the Mile High City without goalkeeper Dan Kennedy and without striker Giovani dos Santos. Both of which were dealing with injuries. In addition, striker Alan Gordon also stayed home still dealing with neck injury.
With those restrictions in mind Bruce Arena put out a lineup that saw Jelle Van Damme make his MLS debut and Mike Magee reprise his roll alongside Robbie Keane up top.
#LAGalaxy XI: Rowe; DeLaGarza, Steres, Van Damme, Rogers; Lletget, De Jong, Gerrard, Zardes; Magee, Keane #COLvLA pic.twitter.com/SbRT05L7F2
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) March 12, 2016
Unlike LA’s slow start vs DC United, against the Rapids, LA would get the lions share of the chances during the first 45 minutes.
In the ninth minute Robbie Keane missed a wide open header as Robbie Rogers fed him a cross into the box. Then in the 20th and 30th minutes Jelle Van Damme had his shot. Van Damme first missed a header wide and then, in the latter chance, footed a full volley off the underside of the crossbar.
But no chances materialized in the second half for the Galaxy and Colorado started to appear the aggressor.
The LA Galaxy fell back into lazy clearances and no possession, the defense came under greater and greater scrutiny, and the altitude started to force the Galaxy into mistakes.
Gyasi Zardes, already invisible in the first half started handing possession easily back to Colorado. In the 51st minute, a poor and ill-timed clearance attempt nearly handed Colorado a goal. But fortunately Robbie Rogers was able to cover for the Zardes error.
Nigel De Jong had one of his poorest outings since joining the Galaxy as well. He forced himself too high up the field on multiple occasions and left Steven Gerrard to defend.
However, as De Jong struggled, Gerrard shined. Only Sebastian Lletget should get more praise than Gerrard on the night and unfortunately for Lletget no one above or beside him wanted to score.
It was a disjointed, poorly officiated game. Seven Yellow cards were handed out by Referee Fotis Bazakos. He erred so many times on simple foul calls that both teams were unable to find a rhythm. He gifted free kicks for no fouls, and waved away perfectly clear fouls. And then, he somehow found 5 minutes of stoppage time in a second half that saw no major injuries, no goals, and no subs.
“Yeah, a point on the road is always nice. Our guys deserved better. Remarkable that five minutes of extra time was added. Remarkable.” Bruce Arena, LA Galaxy Head Coach & GM
And it was those five long minutes of stoppage time that finally saw the Galaxy yield to their opponents. And that’s unfortunate. Because Daniel Steres, up until that point had played a solid game. The defense had played well together. Brian Rowe had played well. Steven Gerrard had one of his better games.
But for now, in the high altitude of Dicks Sporting Goods Park, the LA Galaxy had to walk away 95 minute more tired and zero points the richer for it.
The LA Galaxy will regroup as they host the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday at StubHub Center.