Sporting Kansas City tops Galaxy 2-1

on Jun25

The home miseries of the Galaxy were perfectly encapsulated in one play, 23 minutes into their game Saturday.

Sporting Kansas City’s Roger Espinoza sent a harmless shot from 25 yards that went directly to goalie Clement Diop. In his effort to bat the ball down, Diop missed and watched the ball bounce up into the net for the game’s first goal.

It didn’t cost the Galaxy the game but it summed up a poor first half that couldn’t be erased by a spirited comeback in a 2-1 loss at StubHub Center.

The Galaxy (6-6-4) had their eight-game unbeaten streak end despite having heavy territorial advantage in the final 45 minutes. Numerous scoring chances fell wide, high and short as the Galaxy fell to an MLS-worst 1-4-3 at home.

Galaxy coach Curt Onalfo noted tired legs with his team in the first half but also cited the type of easy goals they allowed. Diop owned his performance.

“I made a mistake,” Diop said. “I want to apologize to everyone tonight. I think even if we didn’t play our best half, in the first half, I think tonight we lost because of me and I’m really sorry for the fans, for the coaches.”

Dave Romney pulled the Galaxy to 2-1 with a header in the 77th minute to get the crowd of 20,140 jumping. Jose Villareal created the chance with a header off the crossbar.

The Galaxy continued an impressive attack but couldn’t score on Kansas City (8-4-6), which has given up a league-low 12 goals.

It was the Galaxy’s third of four games in 15 days.

“We were kind of second to everything,” Onalfo said. “We were just a little bit off. Having said that, the goals were soft. You give goals you can’t give away to a top team in the league. You can’t gift those type of goals to a team that doesn’t concede a lot.”

Onalfo, who dressed one of the youngest lineups in team history Wednesday in an injury-prone season, mostly kept it the same, although Joao Pedro did not start for the first time this season and was inserted in the 60th minute.

Espinoza’s first goal this season was the comical highlight of a mostly forgettable first half for the Galaxy. Ike Opara made it 2-0 with a back-to-the-goal, near bicycle kick conversion, off a dump-in from Matt Besler in the 35th minute.

Diop came out of his net to secure the ball but Besler’s feed took a high hop for Opara.

“I’m too inconsistent and I have to come back stronger to perform well, because it’s unacceptable what I’m doing,” Diop said. “I don’t recognize myself, and I’m really worried about that.”

It could have been a bigger deficit for the Galaxy if not for Nathan Smith’s break-up of an open-net chance for Latif Blessing in the opening minutes.

Onalfo doesn’t put much into the home-road disparity, he said, because “every game is different.” The Galaxy missed six starters during their unbeaten run.

“Obviously, we have to win our games at home, that’s an important part of this,” Onalfo said. “But there’s also circumstances that go into each game. We were tired, playing a team that didn’t play Wednesday, and we gifted two easy goals and that was the difference.”

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