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LA Galaxy’s lack of intensity ‘just killer’ in U.S. Open Cup loss

Nothing but frustration after cup quest is thwarted.

MLS: MLS Open Cup Quarterfinals-Sacramento Republic at LA Galaxy Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

“The amount of, just, lack of concentration, turnovers, just simple missed passes, it’s just killer. Because then you’re having to transition again. It’s an energy suck. It’s an emotional suck. It was just poor. There’s just no two ways about it. It was just poor. You know, the guys pushed in the end. The second goal is… it just can’t happen. I know I could say a lot of things, but it just can’t happen.”

Greg Vanney seemed to sum up the LA Galaxy’s performance on Tuesday in their 2-1 loss to USL Championship side Sacramento Republic FC in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal at Dignity Health Sports Park.

The upset of the two-time Open Cup winners was done with the widespread conclusion that the Galaxy were the second-best team on the night.

“I just thought overall the overall performance tonight was just not good enough,” Vanney said. “And, I can give them credit, because they came in and they protected themselves well. They found good moments and the right times to try to press us a little bit higher, and we didn’t manage it and adapt well. And they took a couple chances, not to say they didn’t have other looks on goal, but they took a couple chances for sure, that goals change games, and we had to chase twice. And did not do well.”

The Galaxy were down very early, just four minutes in, before they tied up the game inside 20 minutes through an own goal. But Luis Felipe scored the winner for Sacramento in the 70th minute and LA couldn’t find a second answer as they limped out of the competition.

While the Galaxy were only two games back from a three-week break in all competitions for most of the month of June, Vanney seemed to both blame a lack of chemistry and a lack of respect for the lower-league opposition for the knockout.

“I think we have to respect every opposition the same way we respect LAFC,” he said. “We respect Austin. We respect… those teams. I think on the weekend against Portland, it was a little bit of a different reason. I think it was kind of first game back. I thought we just were disjointed between whatever the time of day, heat, different things. I felt like we just weren’t moving at the same speed and together. Today, I just feel like we didn’t adapt inside of the game.”

But with Vanney using the Open Cup this season to expand his squad and play more reserves than he’d been doing in league play this year, he admitted the lack of killer edge may prove to sink some players’ time on the field.

“We didn’t have the right intensity. Some players, some did, some didn’t. The right intensity to dual and compete. And, I don’t have a great answer, but I would say guys who continually do that, won’t play. And that’s the message that they understand is every player on the field has to play with the right intensity and the right intention. And not just play well, but play hard. And compete for those things,” he said.

Next up: A California Clasico on the road Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes. Well, if the Galaxy want to show some intensity, they’ll get an immediate chance after Tuesday’s disappointment.

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