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Galaxy postscript: Coach Bruce Arena shoulders blame for the debacle at Real Salt Lake

March 28, 2011 |  1:40 pm

Bal_300l The Galaxy made much of the fact that David Beckham would be captaining the team on Saturday against Real Salt Lake.

As things turned out, the team should have made more of the fact that Landon Donovan would miss the match in Sandy, Utah, while playing for the U.S. in its 1-1 tie with Argentina in New Jersey.

That's because the Galaxy got dismantled, losing, 4-1, on a night when it gave up a goal in the opening minutes for the second time in three games this Major League Soccer season. Things went from bad to worse after that.

"We were completely outplayed in the first half and were punished properly," said Coach Bruce Arena. "Obviously, I point the finger at the coach when the team played the way we played in the first 15 minutes of the game."

Even if Donovan had been available, it is doubtful whether the outcome would have been much different. Real Salt Lake has the Galaxy's number, holding a 7-6-5 all-time edge, including a 4-1-4 advantage when the Utah team is at home.

Real was the better team in 2009, when it defeated the Galaxy in the MLS final in Seattle, and it was the team that played the better soccer in 2010, when, like the Galaxy, it fell to FC Dallas in the playoffs.

"They have a good, solid team, good in every position," Arena said in the days leading up to the match.

Recognizing that fact and being able to do something about it turned out to be two different matters.

"We know that we're better than that, but we have to prove it on the field," said Galaxy striker Juan Pablo Angel, who scored the team's only goal late in a long-lost match. "We've got to make sure for the next game we get it right."

That next game is on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. against the Philadelphia Union.


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Photo: Fabian Espindola of Real Salt Lake and Leonardo of the Los Angeles Galaxy fight for the ball during a game on March 26. Credit: George Frey / Getty Images