The LA Galaxy went down to Tijuana looking to steal a win, but unfortunately there were holes in the club that the Xolos were able to exploit on the way to four goals. It was their highest goal total of the year; previously they hadn't scored more than two.
A goals allowed total like that doesn't happen without several defensive mishaps. On the first minute goal, Leonardo getting beat to the outside set up the ball that the Galaxy couldn't successfully clear. The third goal saw Leonardo get completely turned around on a fifty-fifty ball that was his to clear. On the fourth goal Leonardo completely blew an aerial challenge leaving two Tijuana attackers alone on the ball in the penalty area.
If you notice a pattern, it's Leonardo's direct involvement in three of the four goals scored by Tijuana. In two of those goals, Leonardo's lack of situational awareness left Tijuana attackers with only the keeper to beat. The Xolos kept up the pressure all match, but take away the mistake goals and the Galaxy are through.
"I think that you see the difference in the leagues in nights like tonight," said Landon Donovan. "We've got about eight who are mature and know how these games are while they've got 20 guys who know how these games go."
That's Donovan throwing about ten members of last night's eighteen man roster under the bus. In some cases it's not the fault of the player, Gyasi Zardes simply doesn't have the experience in that sort of environment to step up the way he needed to. Given the number of mistakes last night made by Leonardo and James Riley, I feel comfortable in assuming those are the three he has in mind when he's saying that.
Todd Dunivant needs to go back to starting at left back, hopefully as soon as this weekend. With that, Bruce Arena also needs to consider putting A.J. DeLaGarza back together with Omar Gonzalez. It's been a calendar year of Arena trying to find a way to put DeLaGarza at fullback, but it's probably about time to accept that he's a center back now and that he and Gonzalez work best together.
"The goals that we conceded and the mistakes that we made cost us," said Robbie Keane "We can't come to Mexico and expect an easy ride because all the games are going to be difficult."
The Galaxy will be able to get away with more mistakes during the MLS season, and they won't be back in a CONCACAF tournament until fall 2015 at the earliest. Still, the road to MLS Cup will be a lot smoother if they can work out the issues in the back.