Galaxy rally wasted in 3-2 loss to Red Bulls
The Galaxy celebrated throwback night Saturday, with retro giveaways and in-stadium entertainment commemorating the team’s 22 mostly memorable seasons in MLS.
But on the field the star-crossed Galaxy were very much stuck in the present. They lost two goals because of offside calls, then watched a dubious handball foul in the final minutes set up the game-winning penalty kick in a 3-2 loss to the New York Red Bulls before an announced crowd of 26,704 at StubHub Center.
Those were the kind of close calls that went the Galaxy’s way when the team was a perennial playoff contender. Now the team can’t seem to catch a break. The Galaxy were left winless in April after a two-goal second-half rally went for naught.
“It was awful,” Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid said when asked what he thought of the officiating.
The team disagreed with a first-half offside call against Ola Kamara that disallowed a goal, a late offside call against Zlatan Ibrahimovic that erased what appeared to be the go-ahead score, and a handball call against defender Dave Romney that led to Alejandro Romero Gamarra’s game-winning penalty kick in the 84th minute.
Video of plays involving Ibrahimovic and Romney appeared to show nothing illegal, but the video-replay official did not overturn either call. Romney said afterward the ball hit him in the side, not the arm, leaving a mark that teammate Ema Boateng documented with a photo.
“If he lets the goal stand, they don’t overturn it the other way,” Schmid said of Ibrahimovic’s score. “When you watch the play, he’s clearly onside. I don’t understand the [penalty kick] either. I’ve always said I’m a fan of [video replay]. But I’m not a fan anymore.”
The Red Bulls’ first two scores, both on breakaways, came from Daniel Royer in the first half and Florian Valot in the second, with assists from Gamarra and Bradley Wright-Phillips. The Galaxy had second-half scores from Kamara, his first since the opening half of the opening game, and Giovani dos Santos, his first in 11 months.
With his team searching for goals, Schmid ditched the 4-4-2 formation he used the last couple of weeks in favor of a free-flowing 4-2-3-1 attack which, at times, pushed Ibrahimovic as a target striker up front while moving Kamara, a forward, out to the wing. And it seemed to work at first, with midfielders Sebastian Lletget and Dos Santos forcing Red Bulls keeper Luis Robles into a pair of big saves in the first five minutes.
But New York (4-3-0) scored first. A Gamarra pass from the center circle found Wright-Phillips racing up the center of the field between a pair of defenders. After collecting the ball near the right side of the penalty area, Wright-Phillips eluded Galaxy defender Jorgen Skjelvik with a feed to the far post that Royer knocked in for his first score of the season in the seventh minute.
Valot made the score 2-0 four minutes after the intermission.
The Galaxy scored 10 minutes later, with Ibrahimovic splitting a pair of defenders with a low pass that left Kamara facing Robles one on one — Kamara didn’t waste the chance. The goal was the Galaxy’s first in three games and 279 minutes at home. In the 66th minute, Dos Santos redirected a Romney header to tie the score 2-2.
Ibrahimovic, who started the sequence with a corner kick, picked up his second MLS assist on the play
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