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Why were the LA Galaxy sluggish in Utah? Blame the bus

It turns out there is something of an explanation.

Los Angeles Galaxy v Real Salt Lake Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Anyone who watched the LA Galaxy’s 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake on Saturday noticed the road team looked noticeably slow and sluggish out of the gate. While neither team was especially electric all day, and Real Salt Lake had home field advantage and were accustomed to the normal things like the Utah altitude, and the Galaxy have historically had performances in which their low energy essentially doomed them, it turns out there was an extra factor behind the scenes affecting their start.

“Just felt like the game was slow, you know, I thought the guys had about 10 minutes between when we arrived at the stadium and when they had to go out to warm up because of a bus, that was delayed, nobody found it in their hearts to give us a few minutes to get our guys ready. So, we were into it pretty fast, and I felt like we were pretty slow in the first half with everything. It just felt like we never caught speed,” said Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney after the game.

While Vanney’s turn of phrase here “nobody found it in their hearts to give us a few minutes to get our guys ready...” is certainly entertaining and perhaps an appeal to decency, it does seem pretty crappy that a late bus basically messed up the team’s usual pre-game preparations. In that light, looking like a team bewildered to start the game and essentially catching up the rest of the day makes some sense.

At the same time, I think the context is useful and I’m willing to not slam the team so hard for looking slow, but midfielder Sacha Kljestan didn’t want to take advantage of the excuse on the day.

“It was definitely annoying that’s for sure because some guys have different routines before the game and they take longer to get their bodies ready or their tape, or their treatment or whatever they need before the game starts, and all that got shrunk down today,” Kljestan said postgame. “On the other hand, these are excuses if we’re going to talk about altitude or being late to the game, and I don’t like looking for excuses. So maybe we had a slow start to the game today, but ultimately, I think we did enough in the second half to get ourselves back in the game and just unfortunately we weren’t able to score.”

Again, I’m probably of a similar mind to Kljestan — having a pre-game routine disrupted significantly by a bus delay probably contributed to the sluggish performance, but things happen and sometimes teams just need to get on with it. Still, given RSL and/or MLS or Univision weren’t willing to push back kickoff a little bit to accommodate LA, I wonder if the Galaxy are going to turn up the gamesmanship off the field next time they host RSL. We’ll see what happens!

What do you think? Leave a comment below.