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USSF Division 2

Galaxy humiliated in 4-1 Champions League defeat to Islanders

MLSMJ072710119 

Photo by Michael Janosz/ ISIPhotos.com

BY ADAM SERRANO

"It was embarrassing."

Those were the words of Edson Buddle after the Los Angeles Galaxy suffered a stunning 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Puerto Rico Islanders in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Preliminary Round Series. Islanders forward Nicolas Addlery added a pair in a comprehensive victory for Puerto Rico. The US Division 2 club struck often, handing the Galaxy its worst loss since September of 2009.

"It was one of those games, I give a lot of credit to them, but our result wasn't good enough," said Defender Gregg Berhalter. "It was one of those games where you just you keep knocking your head against the wall, waiting to get a break, but then you give up some good goals. It was a nightmare."

Los Angeles dominated possession throughout the match against the second division club, but the final touch was lacking, which kept the Galaxy from putting shots on frame.

The Galaxy's inability to capitalize  was punished in the 26th minute when forward David Foley capitalized on a Sean Franklin clearance to put the Islanders up 1-0. Puerto Rico struck again just seconds before halftime after a cross by Scott Jones was easily buried by Addlery past Saunders.  

Down early with the Galaxy pressing, Islanders Goalkeeper Bill Gaudette made a number of vital saves to keep the Division 2 club ahead.

The rout was officially on in just 15 minutes into the second half when former Galaxy midfielder Josh Hansen fired a wonderful shot that went off Goalkeeper Josh Saunders' post and in for a third goal. Addlery would add his second of the goal and put the Islanders up by four with a weak shot that Saunders was unable to save.  With the clock ticking and a four goal lead in their hands, the Islanders provided a goal for Los Angeles when a Buddle shot went off the leg of defender Richard Martinez. 

"I think how we were incredibly naive with how we went about things after we went a goal down," said Landon Donovan. "Certainly our defending was not good and we need to be better in front of goal because we had 23 shots all night and we only managed an own goal which was just not good enough."

Success in the Champions League is not a new phenomenon for the Islanders, who have tallied eight victories over three years in the competition, MLS teams on a whole have 11 goals during the same period of time. Although the Islanders brought a roster made up of players with only fringe MLS experience, Puerto Rico was vastly more familiar with the Champions League play than the Galaxy who had not appeared in a Champions League match since 2006.

"We knew we needed a bit of luck against a good team and we knew to take our chances, they had a lot of good players that we needed to contain and we managed to do so," said Puerto Rico Islanders Head Coach Colin Clark. "The return leg is going to be a tough game, they won't take this laying down and will want to show they can win, it's going to be a difficult night."

Los Angeles will now need to win by a four goal differential in Puerto Rico to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League. Such a victory seems like a tall order for a club that has given up a total of 11 goals in six games in all competitions, after posting 14 shut outs in their first 17 matches in 2010. 

Although the defeat will likely sound the death kneel for the club's hopes in the Champions League, the loss may have come at the right time for a club that has appeared lethargic since the end of the World Cup Break.  Since the return of Donovan and Buddle from World Cup duty, the club has gone 2-3-1 in all competitions. 

The Galaxy now turns its focus to a Sunday game against Chicago before the return leg in Puerto Rico on August 4th, ahead of a match with Real Madrid just three days later. As the league heads into the second half of the season, Donovan admits that results are valuable for a club in a mid-season slump. 

"Its difficult going through the summer, but we're as healthy as we've been all season, but guys should know that if they don't play well then they're not going to play" said Donovan. "I think we learned a lot about our team tonight and we have to get a lot better."

88 comments
  • Questions in LA?

    The gap between Ricketts and Saunders is huge and it showed. The defense shows more poise with him tending the net and it probably didn’t help that LA started Sean Franklin in the midfield instead of in defense, a senseless gamble imo. Arena realized that and had to waste a sub early in the game to remove De La Garza and put Stephens on the flank so Franklin could return to the back line.

    Berhalter was exposed once again, he cannot be effective without Omar helping him out in the middle. The subs that are supposed to be used as depth are showing their age. Lewis, Berhalter, Kirovski, and Klein are a little past the fall of their careers and I think you will see it more now that LA’s schedule is busier than ever over the next few weeks.

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  • Clayton

    Props to Angel City Brigade – Agreed. They were very passionate and having a good time it seemed on FSC.

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  • BSU SC

    You’re just trying to get people upset by posting such an asinine comment. You’re either not a real fan or soccer or you’re just a eurosnob jerk.

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  • yankiboy

    Actually only about 7 of them had MLS experience and for most of them, they barely had a cup of coffee in MLS. If you take away the MLS reserve matches you are talking about Guadette and Velez having seen significant MLS action. That’s about it.

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  • Kevin_Amold

    Agreed. This same thing happened to Real Madrid in the Alcorconazo this past year. While no one is confusing Real Madrid with the Galaxy, I believe the loss helped right the ship in the end with Real and I was surprised at how well they challenged Barca during most of the season.

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  • reverb

    Five and a half hour flight from LA to Miami, 500 dollars one-way economy. Two and three quarter hours flight from Miami to San Juan, 300 dollars one-way economy. Traveling 3,400 miles to get spanked at the Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium knowing you’re already eliminated…, priceless.

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  • Tyler Talk

    Well said.

    @Rob. There’s going to be flukes and upsets from time to time, it’s a part of the game. Even the top clubs all over the world have their off-days.

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  • Goalscorer24

    I knew the Galaxy were going to lose. In the article yesterday Arena said “Our objective is to get through this game comfortably.”

    Whenever you assume you are going to beat a team, that is the kiss of death.

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  • Tyler Talk

    Sadly, MLS is only caring about what brings the profits in. The meaningless friendlies against European giants gather a lot of money in for the clubs and the league, because it attracts the casual sports fan.

    Only the diehard fans or the ones that follow the league are aware of the CONCACAF Champions League itself, and how important it is.

    Ironic as well that the team that is caring is a USSF D2 club.

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  • nick

    This is so bad that heads need to roll. The defending was terrible and the shooting worse.

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  • josh

    I cannot believe some people are now calling the galaxy overrated. It is one game, I do not think the galaxy are going to be able to pull it off, but I sure hope that this lights a fire underneath them and they go all out in the return leg.

    I would like to see this line up.

    ——————Buddle———————————-Donovan—————————–Bowen————–Juninho——–Stephans———————————————————————-Birchall———————–Duniviant————————–Franklin———–Berhalter——–Gonzalez—————————————————————————–Ricketts———————

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  • Rob

    Wow the apologists are out in full force today. First off Real lost in what is equivalent to the US cup with few first teamers in the lineup (and what happened to that coach of theirs?). Second, if this happened in UEFA Champions League it would be like Real Madrid loosing to a Swedish side 4-1, not happening. Do you guys forget that PRI is in the second division USL? Going down 4-0 is not just a bad day, sorry it shows no heart. As for the off comment about it hurting US Soccer, PRI play in a US league….. It just hurts the Galaxy and maybe the MLS in terms of quality foreign players wanting to make the leap. No wonder FIFA ranks the MLS as the 88th league in the world. I am still hoping Seattle and Columbus win, and Toronto can hold their lead.

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  • josh

    Line up screwed up. Whatever. Buddle up top, Donovan as a withdrawn striker with more freedom. Bowen and stephans on the wing. Juninho at attacking midfielder and Birchall at defensive midfielder. Duniviant at leftback, franklin at right back, and both berhalter and gonzalez at centerback.

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  • fivefouls

    The Galaxy offense in the second half (missed first) reminded me of my up-by-three offense on FIFA. That is, just firing up 20+ yard shots and killing possession after possession looking for a highlight goal.

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  • BrooklynFC

    Actually this is more like Real Madrid losing to Celtic or Rangers….. the difference between MLS and USSF D2 is not that drastic

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  • paul lorinczi

    Actually, it is not. It is just more of the same from MLS in the Champions League. You don’t get respect, unless you start winning International matches that matter.

    I agree with Rob. It pisses me off to see them play like Amateurs in the Champions League and look like world beaters in Euro friendlies.

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  • Kevin_Amold

    The following players played for Real against Alcorcon: Arbeloa, Metzelder, Albiol, Drenthe, Diarra, Guti Haz, Van Der Vaart, Benzema, Raul, Van Nistelrooy. I don’t care if they weren’t “first teamers” that is a lineup of international stars.

    Rob, you can split hairs all you want. The fact is, sometimes big bad teams lose to smaller sides. Sometimes they get blown away. The competition it happens in, to me, isn’t so relevant.

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  • Rob

    That Real team lost its coach at the end of the year did they not? They didn’t care about the equivalent of the US and FA cup (neither do most EPL/MLS teams), however Champions league is almost more important then the La Liga title, you are kidding yourself if you think otherwise. The event matters. Maybe the MLS isn’t that good, if so then go ahead and say 4-1 drubbings are a normal part of the game. I would hope to think people on this forum would think that the MLS is miles ahead of USL D2.

    And if Real lost to Celtic/Rangers 4-1 (in Champions League), I am willing to put massive amounts of money on the fact that not only the coach would be gone, but so would half of the players.

    And to put this another way, this is like the Yankees loosing to a double A farm team….. even if it were a triple A team there would be a huge backlash.

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  • Eurosnob

    ManUtd v Barca is a really bad analogy. It was a match up of two elite teams, while Galaxy played against an inferior opponent. And by the way, it was not the case of ManUtd getting their tactics wrong. They came out swinging and looked like a better side for the first 10-15 minutes, until Barca took control of the game. ManUtd could not play attacking style because Barca was much better in controlling possession.

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  • Denver Omelette

    Look, LA was just trying to get back to what matters…the regular season. You know, the one where you can lose the majority of your games and win the Cup. What a joke.

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  • Zach

    I understand why prospective owners would not pump money into a team that could be relegated out of MLS, but I think a relegation/promotion system could open the door for new markets to get teams (such as the Southeast) at much lower prices. For example, an ownership group in say, Raleigh or Atlanta or wherever, could fund a USSL-2 team. Not a huge ownership group that would be needed to fund an MLS team, a smaller one to form a smaller club. That club develops and grows and eventually can push its way up the tables to MLS. I know promotion/relegation will never happen, but it IS possible (imo of course). IMO people look at it from a “top-to-bottom” point of view, when really a P/R system would have to start from the bottom and work up

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  • Zach

    just to clarify my point a little, a new club being formed in the lowest tier would overtime acquire a bigger/better fanbase/facilities in a grass roots type of movement. So the club’s growth would be proportionate to the club’s success. Obviously if a club doesn’t succeed, it will dwell in the lower tiers. No one is going to cry over poor attendance at a USSL-2 game. But yes, this is all me just being hopefulšŸ™‚ i know it will never happen

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  • Kevin_Amold

    Rob, you ignore that Real hadn’t won ANY silverware in a while and were obviously trying to win that fixture. If the competition didn’t matter, why was it such a big deal in the press? “EL ALCORCONAZO!”

    They didn’t trot out the kids from the Academy like Wenger loves to do. They played quality players and SUBBED on Van Nistelrooy to try to make something happen. Sounds like a team trying to win the game/taking the competition seriously. People wanted Pellegrini out after the game, but Real at least waited until the end of the season to unceremoniously dump him.

    I don’t even know what we are arguing about anymore. The Galaxy loss is a bad one, but not unprecedented in terms of big sides losing to smaller sides. Hardly the apocalypse it is made out to be.

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  • AnalogToDigitialTakiwara

    I didn’t see the game, only read various match reports. I do plan on finding some highlights if possible too (if anyone can help me out, thanks). Upsets do happen, but I think upsets are usually closer affairs. In this case, it reads as though the Galaxy were not just upset, but manhandled, schooled, humiliated, embarrassed, etc.

    I do agree that the gap between the teams’ respective leagues is not insignificant, that PR had a plan & executed well (in every sense of the word), that LA excels on the counter, & that it was just one game.

    My post is specifically aimed at Landon Donovan, & Buddle to a lesser extent. I had assumed that LD wasn’t on the field before reading into the match. But he was. They both were. Definitely disappointed that neither of the two were able to make things happen, or figure out what quickly what was not working & make the proper changes. This is what the world’s best do against all opponents. Even an ugly win in a high scoring match, given LA’s poor backline. Someone talk to me about the performances lf LA’s 2010 stars, LD & Edson.

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  • atl

    saunders and berhalter should retire…is it me or does saunders look strung out or loaded every time he takes the field…arena’s strategy sucked as well… there has to be some ebb and flow to the game… not just full throttle…atleast 2 of their goals were unstoppable once they left the attacker’s foot… galaxy was not able to put enough pressure before the shot……besides having 4 goals scored on them i thought they looked good at times… go galaxy…:)

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  • atl

    puerto Rico played same strategy as us and Swiss vs Spain to win…great defense with super finishes… galaxy dominated possession and otherwise…

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  • atl

    saunders and berhalter were more than awful…the strategy was poor as well…thought la didn’t play that bad …except for lapses on defence…

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  • ChiTownFire

    Berhalter shouldn’t see the field for any team in MLS ever again. In fact, he should retire. Everytime I watch him he looks atrocious.

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  • bozodono

    Fortunate bounces, lucky strikes, and bad give aways at the back give the 4-1 scoreline. The strike to make it 3-0 was good, but that player is nowhere near the quality of the strike he produced.

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  • bozodono

    I frankly don’t care all that much about the CCL. I’d much rather see a competition between MLS, J-League, Mexican, and A-League sides. What ever happened to that Pan-Pacific tournament?

    Like

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