It's back to the drawing board for the LA Galaxy after conceding six goals to FC Dallas.
Coach Bruce Arena accepted responsibility and blame for his team's performance.
"The score tonight was fair," said Arena. "We were awful from the opening kickoff and deserved everything we got."
The players sounded a similar note.
"It was a really bad night," said midfielder Landon Donovan. "I’m not happy, but if we can learn from it, it is not the end of the world."
The Galaxy missed a chance to go top of the league with a win, disappointing the home fans by allowing the opposition so many chances.
"This year we’ve been playing better away," Donovan noted. "But we have to learn to play better at home. We have to watch the video of the game and talk between us, and find out what happened tonight."
The one bright spot of the match was the performance of AJ DeLaGarza, who had a hand in both Galaxy goals before being forced to leave the match due to a sprained knee.
"Obviously, it’s bittersweet," said the rookie defender. "I scored my first two professional goals, but it is a disappointing loss. I don’t even know, I can’t even explain it right now. I haven’t been part of six goals against my team I don’t know for how long."
It is unknown how long the defender will be out with the injury, which didn't help the Galaxy bounce back.
"He was one of the ones who didn't do so bad," defender Gregg Berhalter.
Still, Berhalter saw the experience as something that could be instructive.
"It can be helpful, if we channel it the right way," said Berhalter. "It's good it happened now, towards the end of the season - if we make sure it doesn't happen again."
Donovan felt the team missed the defensive discipline that marked earlier performances.
"We got a little naive, and we let it get away from us," said Donovan. "3-2, we still had a chance to win the game. Then, they scored a good goal for 4-2. And then all of us, especially us the older players, needed to be better there not to be embarrassed, and we have to learn from that."
The floodgates opened in the second half, when the Galaxy allowed four goals. Though the club was infamous for allowing goals under Ruud Gullit, it the defensive performance had improved under Arena until this latest match.
Arena pointed to that history as something the Galaxy needed to remember.
"We’ve been good in too many good performances to think that this is a pattern," said Arena. "I have seen this before. This looked like the 2006-8 LA Galaxy and we gotta make that disappear real quick."
Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said he knew there were goals in this game. He even he predicted more at half.
"I said it at half time when it was 2-2 that there would be more goals," he said. "It was a great game for the fans—two teams that attacked. We were fortunate to come out with a win."
Part of it may have been fortune, but another part was the sheer speed of the fleet-footed Jeff Cunningham. The striker hit a brace and tore up the Galaxy defense with his pace.
"I thought that they just don’t have enough speed to cover Jeff Cunningham," Hyndman said, before talking about another striker with pace. "Brek Shea came in at the end and with his pure speed. I think that any time you give up that many goals you have to get back to work and fix it."
Andrea Canales, Goal.com
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