In a parking lot outside of Stanford stadium, standing between an idling bus and trailer being used as a makeshift locker room while the stadium's locker rooms were being refurbished, Bruce Arena stared up at the fireworks, waiting to do a press conference he was clearly in no mood to give.
Stanford stadium has traditionally been a fortress for the Earthquakes, but after last year's victory and Juninho's first half opening goal, there was plenty of disappointment to go around amongst Galaxy players and staff as this game was very much theirs for the taking. After a second half collapse, however, it simply was not to be for the Galaxy as they fell by multiple goals to their rivals to the north.
Just hours before, the narrative was all Galaxy. How, after scoring 16 goals in 7 days, no team in the league wanted to play them. The Galaxy were once again hitting their unstoppable Summer stride and the Quakes were in for a long night. But narratives change quickly in MLS, and, standing in that parking lot as the acorns plummeted to the asphalt, jostled loose by sound the sound of the explosions above, you could certainly feel the narrative changing as Bruce Arena stepped up to answer questions.
A reporter began to ask about the continuing trend of the Galaxy losing road games, but Bruce interrupted him halfway through. "Yeah, whatever," he replied in a somewhat irritated manner. "I'm not real thoughtful about that at the moment."
Bruce was not at all pleased with the team's performance and he reiterated this in a myriad of colorful ways in his response to pretty much every question. "We stunk," "We were crappy" "We got outplayed."
To Bruce, it seemed as simple as that. "You can come up with all your theories... you can use all your theories that you want. You have no clue; we just couldn't do anything right."
The players were more willing to explain why the team had so much trouble in the final third--Robbie Keane, explaining how San Jose sat back and was willing to give credence to the notion that, being their third game in 8 days, fatigue played a role, although he was unwilling to accept it as an outright excuse. "No excuses—fatigue or no fatigue, they were just the better team."
Both Juninho and Keane downplayed the idea of any sort of revenge motivation going into the Open Cup game at Avaya Stadium just days later.
Despite their unwillingness to admit it, it's hard to imagine that the night's loss won't be somewhere in the back of their minds in preparation for their short turn around rematch. While it's uncertain how Bruce is going to handle the match roster wise, as the Galaxy square off against a formidable Toronto team the following Saturday, the stage is certainly set for a grudge rematch between the sides on July 1st that you certainly won't want to miss.