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Galaxy settles for 1-1 tie against New England

L.A. outshoots the Revolution, 13-7, and puts the ball in the net four times, but three goals are disallowed, including a controversial incident that cost the Galaxy a potential victory.

March 21, 2011|By Grahame L. Jones
  • Galaxy forward Juan Pablo Angel, left, and Revolution defender A.J. Soares react after a disallowed goal late in the second half Sunday at Home Depot Center.
Galaxy forward Juan Pablo Angel, left, and Revolution defender A.J. Soares… (Bret Hartman / Associated…)

Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena predicted wet weather for the team's Major League Soccer season-opener at Seattle last Tuesday. The rain came and the Galaxy won.

Arena made no prediction for the Galaxy's home opener Sunday in Carson. The rain came anyway, along with a cold and swirling wind, and the Galaxy had to settle for a 1-1 tie with the New England Revolution.

Not that they settled quietly.

The Galaxy put the ball in the net four times in all, but three of the goals were disallowed by referee Hilario Grajeda. Twice, he was clearly correct because the players who scored — Mike Magee and Juan Pablo Angel — were offside.

But on another occasion, when Grajeda disallowed Juninho's apparent goal, the Galaxy had good reason to be unhappy. Landon Donovan and David Beckham protested at the time. Arena voiced his displeasure afterward.

The play occurred in the 17th minute when the Galaxy was pushing to tie the game after Shalrie Joseph had given the Revolution the lead on a well-taken header a mere 2:34 into the rain-drenched match.

Beckham curled a free kick into the New England goal area, and goalkeeper Matt Reis came out to catch the ball but fumbled it away. Juninho stabbed the ball into the back of the net, but Grajeda ruled that Magee had shoved Reis.

Replays suggested that any contact was slight if not nonexistent, and even New England Coach Steve Nicol afterward smiled when asked whether Reis had been fouled.

"The referee gave it so he must have been," Nicol said, tongue firmly in cheek. "No, we're kind of looking at it as if we got away with one. But these things happen. Sometimes you get them; sometimes you don't."

Arena failed to see any humor in the incident, which cost the Galaxy a potential victory.

"You can't reward the goalkeeper for dropping the ball," he said. "I don't understand that one at all. Perhaps the other ones were offside, we can't argue that."

Juninho, who scored the game-winner in the 1-0 win at Seattle, also scored the tying goal in front of a soaked Home Depot Center crowd, firing in a 20-yard shot that swerved and beat Reis six minutes before the first half ended.

By the final whistle, the Galaxy had outshot the Revolution, 13-7, including 7-1 in shots on target, but a tie was its only reward.

"Obviously, conceding a goal in the opening minutes put our backs to the wall, but I think we responded well and got a goal back and probably had another goal, although the referee doesn't agree with that," Arena said.

"I think we played well. We could have scored a bunch of goals. We fell short there, but overall … we did a lot of good things tonight. It was a positive performance."

The weather played its part, with the field waterlogged in many places and interfering with both the players' footing and the movement of the ball. Not that Nicol was complaining.

"It brought back a few memories," he said of the cold and wet conditions, recalling his long career with Liverpool in England. "It's always good fun if you get a result. Obviously if you lose, it's not.

"We're happy. It was a real team effort tonight and everybody played their part."

Colombian forward Angel made his Galaxy debut, and Uruguayan midfielder Paolo Cardozo made his MLS debut for the Galaxy, but it was Juninho who was the Galaxy's most effective player. Afterward, Arena praised the 22-year-old Brazilian midfielder.

"He's fitter," Arena said. "I think last year he really struggled to play 90 minutes. He's maturing. He knows the league. He knows our players. He's doing a better job getting forward. He's shown that he's a more dangerous player. He just looks like a more mature player."

The conditions remained a talking point, however. How bad were they?

"They were good enough for us to win this game," Arena said.

grahame.jones@latimes.com

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