No team in MLS history has won more home games than the Galaxy, who have never had a losing record in 21 years split between the Rose Bowl and StubHub Center.
However, this season that script has been flipped, leaving the Galaxy feeling like strangers in a place they once ruled.
The latest example came Tuesday when Real Salt Lake, the league’s lowliest team, came into the Galaxy’s house and made itself at home, riding two goals from Jefferson Savarino and goals from Albert Rusnak, Kyle Beckerman, Yura Movsisyan and Joao Plata to a 6-2 victory that was a lot more one-sided than the scoreboard indicated.
“It’s unacceptable,” coach Curt Onalfo said. “It’s disappointing.”
It was also historic, with the six goals doubling the previous season high for Real Salt Lake, which won on the road for the second time in 11 tries.
For the Galaxy, the six goals given up matched a franchise record set in a 2009 home loss to Dallas.
Ashley Cole’s first goal of the season, late in the first half, and Bradford Jamie-son’s first goal of the season, in the final minute of regulation, were the lone murmurs of protest from the Galaxy, who dropped to a league-worst 1-5-3 at home and extended their losing streak to three games overall.
Numbers tell only part of the story. The Galaxy never led Tuesday and have been so thoroughly dominated at home this season they have been ahead only once, for 75 minutes, at StubHub Center, where they’ve won only once since September. And their five losses there this year are one more than they lost at home in the previous three seasons combined.
For 45 minutes the Galaxy kept this one close, with Rusnak pushing a right-footed shot into the net at the far post in the 36th minute to give the visitors the early lead before Cole produced the equalizer after running on to a Jose Villarreal feed in the penalty area in the 41st minute.
But a diving header from Beckerman a minute into first-half stoppage time put Real Salt Lake in front to stay.
The half that followed wasn’t even close, with the visitors outshooting the Galaxy 23-14 for the game.
Movsisyan gave the visitors what appeared to be an insurance goal in the 62nd minute. Instead, it proved to be the goal that opened the floodgates, with Savarino scoring twice in the next 15 minutes and Plata adding a goal three minutes later, unleashing a cascade of boos from the crowd, which was announced at 25,667, a sellout.
If there was a bright spot for the Galaxy, and those were admittedly hard to find, it was that the rout ended a frantic period in which the team played seven times in 21 days. And they closed that streak without nine players who are injured, suspended or on international duty.
As a result, the Galaxy started four homegrown players for the fourth time in as many games, and three other starters were graduates of the team’s USL affiliate. That left Onalfo with a lineup that, aside from the 36-year-old Cole, averaged 23.1 years of age. Only four players came in with more than 18 MLS starts.
“No doubt about it, we’re a tired group. We’re without a lot of our veteran players, so we’re relying on a younger group. And we have a lot of injuries,” Onalfo said. “But these younger guys have shown that they can do it before. We don’t make excuses. ... We need to have a very short memory. Get that out of our system very quickly.”