Galaxy Runs Cold and Hot in Opener

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Galaxy has never been a cold-weather team, and it was downright chilly at the Rose Bowl Saturday night.

The air temperature, however, was nothing compared to the icy blast Coach Sigi Schmid directed at his players after they gave up three goals in the first 27 minutes of the team's Major League Soccer season opener.

One blunder after another put the game out of reach for Los Angeles before the half as the San Jose Earthquakes rolled to a three-goal lead.

Thirty-three minutes into the lopsided contest, the crowd of 17,386 delivered the first boos of the season--and they were clearly aimed at the home side.

By the end, however, the Galaxy players had those same fans on their feet, having fought back to score two goals of their own before finally bowing, 3-2.

"We haven't played well at all," an angry Schmid said at halftime. "We haven't won 50-50 balls, we haven't won any tackles, we're moving the ball too slowly, we're not marking. Everything that you can do wrong, we've done wrong in 45 minutes."

It was only the second time in 11 games between the teams at the Rose Bowl that San Jose finished on top.

The victory also extended the Earthquakes' streak of always winning when a new coach makes his debut. The latest to benefit was Frank Yallop, the former Canadian national team player who was coaching his first MLS game.

Before Yallop, Laurie Calloway, Brian Quinn and Lothar Osiander each won their first game in charge of San Jose.

"It was enough to give you heart attacks, that one, I think," Yallop said. "I'm going to have gray hair by the end of the season if games continue like that."

The Earthquakes got goals from Troy Dayak in the ninth minute, Ronald Cerritos in the 24th and Dwayne DeRosario in the 27th as they dominated the game. They were more lively around the ball and kept almost constant pressure on Los Angeles.

"It was an abysmal first half," Schmid said. "I thought we came out with no energy, with no desire, with no quickness, with no effort, with no organization.

"It was as bad as we've played. You can't sugar-coat it, you can't hide it. You can't say anything else.

"So obviously I have to look at myself and look at what I did in terms of preparing the team, to see if there were things that I did that were right and things that I did that were wrong. But certainly we didn't play well."

There was more.

"It doesn't matter how skillful you are, the game is still about winning 50-50 challenges and we didn't do that at all in the first half. . . . I thought at times that we just tried to play too cute at the wrong times.

"I think one of our big problems in the first half was that we had 11 players on the field and eight of them thought they were playmakers. You can't play with eight playmakers."

Schmid brought Adam Frye, Danny Pena and Paul Caligiuri into the game in the second half as the Galaxy fought back. Goals by Sasha Victorine in the 80th minute and Frye in the 83rd were not enough, however.

"I'm happy with they way they battled back," Schmid said. "I'm happy that they showed some character, but unfortunately the goal [that started the comeback] came too late.

"We had opportunities to tie the game, but we were also fortunate not to be down by six at halftime.

"It's one of those days. The day started off for me with a flat tire and it ended here with a flat tire."

In other openers Saturday:

New York/New Jersey 2, New England 1--Clint Mathis had a goal and an assist and Adolfo Valencia scored the game-winner in injury time as the MetroStars edged the Revolution in front of 30,753 at East Rutherford, N.J. Valencia's headed goal in the 92nd minute came off the rebound of a shot by Mark Chung that struck the crossbar. Midfielder Leonel Alvarez scored for New England.

Washington 3, Kansas City 2--A goal by rookie Mark Lisi two minutes from the final whistle gave D.C. United the victory over the defending MLS champion Wizards in front of 22,216 at Washington. Bobby Convey and Raul Diaz Arce also scored for the United, the latter on a penalty kick that came after Kansas City defender Nick Garcia had been ejected for handling the ball. Roy Lassiter and Mark McKeon scored for the Wizards, whose 16-game streak of allowing two goals or fewer ended.

Columbus 1, Chicago 1--Dante Washington, the Crew's leading scorer in 2000, got his first goal of the new season as Columbus fought back to tie the Fire in front of 17,947 at Columbus, Ohio. John Wolyniec got Chicago's goal. The Fire's Andrew Lewis and Diego Gutierrez and the Crew's Roland Aguilera were ejected late as tempers grew short.

Tampa Bay 4, Dallas 2--Carlos Valderrama, who set an MLS record in 2000 with 26 assists, got two in the opener as the Mutiny rolled over the Burn before 15,124 at Dallas. Steve Ralston, Ali Curtis, Joseph Addo and Mamadou Diallo scored for the winners.

Miami 2, Colorado 1--Alex Pineda Chacon scored twice in his MLS debut to lead the Fusion to a come-from-behind victory before 10,411 at Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Josh Spencer scored for the Rapids.

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