The Galaxy learned a painful lesson in arithmetic Saturday night.
Eleven minus seven equals a 2-1 defeat.
With one starter, Danny Pena, absent because of injury and six others missing because they are playing for either the United States, El Salvador, Mexico or St. Vincent and the Grenadines in World Cup qualifying today, Los Angeles did not have the depth it needed.
With four exceptions, those it put on the field were essentially its not-quite-ready-for-prime-time players.
As a result, D.C. United, the team with the worst record in the league, was able to keep its flickering playoff hopes alive.
Goals by Pete Marino in the seventh minute and A.J. Wood in the 53rd were enough to give Major League Soccer's defending champion a 2-1 victory in front of a Rose Bowl crowd of 15,714.
By winning, D.C. United also kept intact its record of never having been swept in a four-game season series. The Galaxy had won the first three matches between the teams this year.
It started to go wrong for the Galaxy from the outset. D.C. United (5-13-6) scored in the seventh minute when Los Angeles' offside trap failed.
The Galaxy defense moved forward as a pass from Bolivian forward Jaime Moreno was sent to Marino to the right of the net. There was no flag and no whistle and Marino found himself with only onrushing goalkeeper Kevin Hartman to beat.
Marino chipped the ball over Hartman and watched it bounce into the open net.
It was a sign of things to come.
Having given up the soft goal, the Galaxy (10-6-7) responded well. Seth George could have tied the score in the 15th minute when he found himself one-on-one against D.C. goalkeeper Mark Simpson, but Simpson rushed out of the goal area and knocked the ball away.
There was nothing Simpson could do two minutes later, however, when a mistake by one of his own defenders allowed the Galaxy to score.
An errant pass from Geoff Aunger was intercepted by Galaxy midfielder Peter Vagenas and the U.S. Olympic team hopeful, running right but shooting left, fired the ball into the corner of the net.
It was Vagenas' third goal of the season and his second in two games.
D.C. United came within inches of reclaiming the lead in the 30th minute when a wicked, in-swinging corner kick by Marco Etcheverry--the other half of Washington's Bolivian connection--was palmed onto the crossbar by Hartman.
For the last hour, most of the good chances belonged to the Galaxy, but it could not capitalize.
Schmid took George out in the 38th minute and sent the more mobile Marvin Quijano into the game. But Quijano, like George, failed to take advantage of the opportunity in the absence of starting forwards Luis Hernandez and Cobi Jones.
Vagenas had a chance to put the Galaxy in front in the 52nd minute when a fine pass from Simon Elliott set him free on the right. But Vagenas' first touch was too strong and the ball got away from him and was scooped up by a relieved Simpson.
It was a costly miscue.
One minute later, D.C. scored the winning goal.
Again it was Moreno who engineered it, beating Zak Ibsen on the left and passing into the goal area for Wood to score from close range.
Etcheverry and Moreno might have missed the game, too, had Bolivia decided to call them up for its World Cup qualifier against Chile. Instead, they were dropped from the team, with Coach Carlos Aragones saying neither would have had time to adapt to the altitude in La Paz, Bolivia.
D.C. United was without three U.S. national team players--Jeff Agoos and Ben Olsen, both injured, and Eddie Pope.
The Galaxy, meanwhile, was missing not only Hernandez and Jones, but also Mauricio Cienfuegos, Ezra Hendrickson, Robin Fraser and Greg Vanney.
It was too much to overcome.
As the game was slipping away, Schmid even tried a longshot. He sent Sheldon Thomas into the game with nine minutes left. Thomas, who plays for the Orange County Wave of the A-League, had joined the team only Friday.
The loss cost the Galaxy the chance to take first place in the Western Division away from the Kansas City Wizards, who were beaten, 2-0, by the Crew in Columbus, Ohio.
Instead, Los Angeles still trails Kansas City by a point as it takes to the road next week for a game against the Mutiny in Tampa, Fla. Once again, the same seven starters will be missing.
Once again, the stand-ins will take center stage.