Galaxy let opportunity to win get away, settle for 1-1 tie with San Jose
Robbie Keane dashed off the field following the Galaxy’s game with the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday, showered quickly and hurried toward the airport before many in the sellout crowd at StubHub Center had left their seats.
“Think we’ll make it?” Keane asked team administrator Zack Murshedi of his flight to Ireland, where he’ll join the Irish national team Monday in preparation for next month’s European Championships.
It was a fair question considering that moments earlier time had not been kind to Keane and Galaxy, who conceded a goal in the closing minutes and were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw.
“We were four minutes away from what we wanted, which was three points and [a] clean sheet,” midfielder Steven Gerrard said.
Added a disappointed Robbie Rogers: “I always feel like we should win. Especially at home. So it feels like a loss to me.”
Especially since the Galaxy gave the victory away, with a series of defensive mistakes setting up Fatai Alashe’s goal in the 87th minute.
The sequence began with San Jose’s Chad Barrett spinning away from the tight marking of Rogers near the left sideline and sending a right-footed cross to the edge of the six-yard box. Alashe eluded the Galaxy’s Gyasi Zardes, then cut between defenders Jelle Van Damme and Nigel de Jong to head a one-hop shot into the net near the far post.
“We obviously … lost our concentration a little bit,” Coach Bruce Arena said. “That point in the game we’re tired, we’ve got to concentrate and just take the three points and get out of here.”
But if the Galaxy were unlucky to give away a score late, they were admittedly fortunate to get their own goal four minutes earlier when midfielder Sebastian Lletget bounced a pass off the leg of San Jose defender Marvell Wynne.
Lletget’s cross from the edge of the box on the right flank was too long for either Keane or Zardes. But Wynne, with his back to the two Galaxy players, slid and extended his leg to clear the ball, only to deflect it past keeper David Bingham instead.
“My job is to put the ball in the right areas and fortunately it went in,” said Lletget, who ricocheted a shot off Portland’s Nat Borchers for a nearly identical goal six weeks ago.
Lletget may soon be getting a lot more chances to score goals of his own. A second-half substitute Sunday, he’ll get more playing time in the next month with Keane, Zardes and midfielder Baggio Husidic all heading off for international duty.
The Euros could keep Keane away into July while Zardes will be playing for the U.S. in the Copa America Centenario for at least three weeks. Husidic, meanwhile, was called up by Bosnia and Herzegovina for a friendly with Spain and two games in Japan. He’ll miss two Galaxy games.
And while the timing may not be perfect for the Galaxy, Gerrard said they’re prepared.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Gyasi and Robbie and going to be big misses for the squad. But players complain and moan that they’re not in the [lineup].
“Now they’re going to get a chance and let’s see what we can do.”
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