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Galaxy doesn't show much interest

The Galaxy's lone goal comes in the 83rd minute when a shot by Edson Buddle deflects off Puerto Rico defender Richard Martinez.

July 27, 2010|By Grahame L. Jones

It fell somewhere between a yawn and a chasm.

Call it a yawning chasm and you'd be on the money, and the Galaxy fell right into it Tuesday night.

The final score at the Home Depot Center? Puerto Rico Islanders 4, Galaxy 1.

Yes, Major League Soccer's top team, a team playing at home, a team featuring two current and two former World Cup players, a team that was unbeaten in Carson since September, a team captained by Landon Donovan and powered by Edson Buddle, lost to a minor league outfit.

Put that another way. It was beaten.

"Their effort was excellent and ours wasn't good enough," was the way Coach Bruce Arena summed it up.

What it all means is that if the Galaxy wants to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League, it will have to score at least four goals and allow none in the second game of the qualifying series in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, on Aug. 4 or it will not make it through to the final 16 of soccer's North and Central American and Caribbean regional club championship.

Not that it matters much.

By Aug. 5, the Galaxy will be flying home and thinking about the Aug. 7 game against Real Madrid in Carson. By Aug. 8, Arena and company will be back to focusing on what really matters — winning the MLS Cup.

Of course, if the Galaxy does become MLS champion, it will qualify automatically for the 2011 CONCACAF Champions League and could be right back where it left off Tuesday night.

Routed and humbled.

The Islanders, a Division 2 team without a recognizable standout, played with confidence and ability and were deserving winners. Unlike the Galaxy, Puerto Rico finished its chances.

David Foley gave the Islanders the lead in the 26th minute when he banged in a shot from close range after Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza had cleared David Horst's header off the goal line after a corner kick.

The visitors, coached by former FC Dallas coach Colin Clarke, doubled their lead in the final minute of the half when the Galaxy defense was again caught napping.

A cross from the left by Scott Jones reached Nicolas Addlery, who fired the ball into the back of goalkeeper Josh Saunders' net while defender Gregg Berhalter appealed in vain for an offside call from Jamaican referee Raymond Bogle.

The crowd — for want of a better word — booed the players off the field as the half ended, but whether the 6,873 spectators were unhappy with Bogle or with the Galaxy was uncertain.

There were three more goals in the second 45 minutes, each of them scored by Puerto Rico.

Josh Hansen made it 3-0 10 minutes into the second half with a looping shot from 28 yards that went in off the right post, and Addlery made it a rout by beating Saunders with a stinging shot in the 81st minute.

With the Galaxy firing shots high and wide with minor league proficiency, the Islanders provided the home fans with a small consolation when Richard Martinez accidentally deflected the ball into his own net seven minutes from the end.

grahame.jones@latimes.com

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