Galaxy must settle for fourth in West
The Galaxy’s postseason fate pretty much was decided 38 minutes into the first half when it was announced that FC Dallas tied Kansas City 2-2. That meant the Galaxy could do no better than third in the conference. Saturday’s loss to the Earthquakes left the Galaxy (13-13-6, 45 points) tied with Colorado (13-13-6, 45 points) for third place, but the Rapids got the edge on goal differential and a matchup with Dallas in the first round of the playoffs. The Galaxy, in turn, finished fourth in the West and got the Earthquakes. The Galaxy did beat the ‘Quakes 2-1 in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals in late August, but it hasn’t won a regular-season match in San Jose since a 1-0 victory on Sept. 21, 2002. There was plenty of action early on, but it was more a war of attrition than anything. Two players, one from each team, were ejected in the opening 22 minutes. The first was Galaxy defender Tyrone Marshall, who was red-carded by referee Jair Marrufo in the 17th minute for stepping – not once, but twice – on prone San Jose midfielder Alejandro Moreno as they battled for a loose ball. The second ejection occurred five minutes later after Earthquakes defender Kevin Goldthwaite tripped Gomez, who had just intercepted a pass at midfield and had plenty of running room ahead of him. Marshall and Goldthwaite miss next week’s playoff opener. The action appeared to open up after the player dismissals, and the Earthquakes took a 1-0 lead in the 42nd minute. Brian Mullan lofted a beautiful pass across the goal crease to Mark Chung, who had slipped behind the Galaxy defense at the corner of the net. Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman was a split-second too late in getting over and preventing the score. Hartman had no chance on San Jose’s second goal three minutes later. Dwayne De Rosario leads the league in assists, but he’s not too bad at scoring goals, either, and got his ninth of the season on a 30-yard free kick in the 45th minute. His attempt just evaded the Galaxy defensive wall and rocketed into the upper corner of the net. Landon Donovan got the Galaxy goal on a penalty kick in the 68th minute. San Jose’s Mullan closed the scoring nine minutes later. Larry Morgan, (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2272 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! CARSON – The Galaxy’s best-laid plans were laid to waste. Los Angeles, clinging to hopes of a second-place finish in the Western Conference and a matchup with FC Dallas in the first round the MLS playoffs, instead settled for fourth in the West and got another meeting with conference champion San Jose, which rolled to a 3-1 victory over the Galaxy on Saturday in front of an announced crowd of 27,000 at Home Depot Center. Galaxy scoring sensation Herculez Gomez, who was guarded closely all night and was credited with just one shot on goal, said the Galaxy will need to be much improved in the return engagement. “We got beat in every aspect of the game,” he said. “We have to learn from this, come into the next game and really take it to them. “They’re a good team. They took advantage of their opportunities and we didn’t.” San Jose coach Dominic Kinnear, however, scoffed at those who felt Saturday’s result was an affirmation of the Earthquakes’ superiority. San Jose, interestingly, had been 0-6-1 in Carson before Saturday’s game. “The playoffs are brand new and everyone starts over,” Kinnear said. “We did well this week, but next week is more important than the week before.” “We felt very confident we could go up to Spartan Stadium and get a result up there,” Galaxy coach Steve Sampson said. “Now we have an opportunity to play here and there. We don’t like the fact we finished fourth, but I believe this club can get a result against them.” The first game of the two-game series will be next Sunday at noon at Home Depot Center and will be televised by ESPN2. The return match – the winner of the series will be decided on goal aggregate – is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. in San Jose.