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The LA Galaxy blew the game, but not the U.S. Open Cup

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-FC Dallas at Los Angeles Galaxy Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

“Don’t overreact”.

That little bit of advice from my friend The Weeknd during my morning drive is an apt description of how Galaxy fans should ultimately feel after LA collapsed at the death vs. FC Dallas in the Open Cup.

Look, there’s no getting around it, the Galaxy gave the match away. Giving up two goals off a pair of corner kicks in the final five minutes of extra time was a heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, morale-sapping experience.

Bruce Arena and the team said as much postgame. Baggio Husidic called the defeat “the lowest point”. And LA had their chances, especially in the first half.

But its hard to find too much fault with the Galaxy’s strategy of fielding a second-string lineup.

As Alicia Rodriguez noted in the MLS match recap, the talking point that Bruce did not prioritize the U.S. Open Cup this year is a bit harsh. LA has used a mix of starters and reserves, made proactive attacking substitutions and generally taken the tournament seriously.

It’s a little disappointing Arena didn’t go for it with a stronger lineup vs. FCD, but the Galaxy has the oldest starting 11 in the league. Injuries and international duty have also taken their toll on the roster.

The Galaxy just got out of a street fight vs. the Red Bulls on Sunday, with the U.S. Open Cup semifinal sandwiched in-between a pivotal matchup vs. the Rapids this Saturday. Fatigue becomes a important factor when you’re going up against a rested FC Dallas side that happens to be the fastest team in the league.

The Galaxy could have played the strongest starting 11, but the odds are good they would have played poorly.

It’s important to remember one of the benefits of the U.S. Open Cup is to give valuable game time to the reserves. If LA are serious about producing talent, younger players like Dave Romney and the excellent Raul Mendiola need to get meaningful minutes.

Finally, it should be said the Galaxy performed for a vast majority of the game and should have won.

LA did not lose because of their lineup selection, but because of two silly lapses in concentration.