Word of the night:
Somber: 1 : so shaded as to be dark and gloomy (Merriam-Webster Online, 2016)
This described the LA Galaxy locker room after a gut wrenching loss to FC Dallas on Wednesday night.
Dallas cast some serious shade on the Galaxy in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open Cup at StubHub center. The mood switched from ecstasy for the home side to agony as Dallas scored two goals in the span of five minutes in the second overtime to steal the win and move on to the finals.
The Galaxy didn’t always feel that way, there were plenty of chances for both sides. Dallas got stronger as the game went on and that is ultimately why they won the game.
— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) August 11, 2016
The Galaxy only have themselves to blame for losing this one. Giovani dos Santos drew the penalty that Mike Magee put away. However, they were routinely outplayed by Dallas and after being gifted the penalty, they lost concentration and allowed Dallas to get two goals.
— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) August 11, 2016
Bruce Arena said after the game, “We did fine. We should have walked off the field 1-0.” However, Arena went on to say, “Really a naïve performance at the end of the game.”
There were more turnovers on the night in bad areas than I care to remember. The Galaxy midfielders looked disjointed and lost for most of the game. Players were also caught over dribbling the ball when there were obvious passes right in from of them.
Set piece marking was also a problem. The Galaxy play implore zonal marking on corners but they were beat multiple times to the ball on all set pieces.
The missed opportunities also came back to haunt the Galaxy in a game that was always going to be decided by thin margins.
Baggio Husidic called it “Probably the lowest point of the season”. Magee added, “Frustrating is an understatement.”
Full credit to Dallas for coming into StubHub and outplaying the home side. Mauro Diaz’s deliveries on set pieces were dangerous all game and it paid off in the final five minutes of overtime.
Oscar Pareja the coach for Dallas went on to praise his staff, “Our coaching staff did an excellent job working on set plays”. Matt Hedges who scored the tying goal said, “We practice our free kicks and set plays every day and for it to come at a time like that is an amazing feeling.”
Pareja also gave credit to his team saying, “The team is full of spirit”. On the comeback, “I could see that one coming. Not just the second goal but I said that about the first one. They deserve it, they deserve to be in the final”.
Nobody is going to question that. Dallas came into the lion’s den and emerged victorious.
Player of the Match
Mauro Diaz, the 5-foot-6 Argentinian stood head and shoulders above everyone else tonight. His set piece deliveries were a thing of beauty. He danced on the ball in and around defenders and orchestrated the Dallas offense. His two corner kick assists were pinpoint accurate and he made it look so effortless.
Looking Ahead: FC Dallas
The win puts Dallas in a position to end their 19 year title drought. Dallas will play host to the New England Revolution in a repeat of the 2007 final. In 2007 the Revolution came out on top 3-2, Dallas is hoping to get some revenge, “It means a lot for the franchise. Winning trophies for our club is the objective this year” Pareja said.
Dallas has the opportunity to win the first ever domestic treble with capturing the U.S. Open Cup, Supporters Shield, and MLS Cup all in the same season.
This could end up being a season for the ages for the Texas based club.
Looking Ahead: LA Galaxy
Husidic after the game said “I thought we were the better team on the night.” The Galaxy were outshot 26 to 11. I respectfully disagree with Mr. Husidic.
— Matthew Doyle (@MLSAnalyst) August 11, 2016
This Galaxy team that was out there today need to realize that they were beaten by a team that was better than them tonight. Perhaps the Galaxy are the better team when they have all of their stars but we wont know that until they meet again.
Arena mentioned that “We shouldn’t lose that game”. Well you did, and certain things need to be scrutinized. Gyasi Zardes and Gio were brought on for an ineffective Alan Gordon, but an effective Emmanuel Boateng.
I questioned bringing in Zardes since he hasn’t played recently due to a chest injury. Why bring him on now in a high pressure situation against a top level opponent when you have Sebastian Lletget, the competitions 2nd leading scorer sitting there on the bench?
Not to mention that it was Zardes who could be found at fault on both corner kick goals if you watch the replay.
Hindsight is 20/20 but why not bring in Lletget for Raul Mendiola (like he did) and Gio in for Gordon? Arena tried to win the game by bringing in three attacking players.
It was apparent however, that Jeff Larentowicz and Husidic had heavy legs in the midfield and were getting torn apart by the more agile Dallas midfielders. Bringing in Nigel de Jong would have settled things and restored order to the midfield that was second best to the loose balls. Not to mention the immense leadership and experience de Jong would bring to that scenario.
The old adage holds true, defense wins championships. Looks like the players weren’t the only ones being a little naïve at the end of the game.
FC Dallas vs Sporting Kansas City, MLS. Saturday, August 13, 6:00 p.m.
LA Galaxy vs Colorado Rapids, MLS. Saturday, August 13, 7:30 p.m.