The Los Angeles Galaxy were eliminated on Tuesday night by the Sacramento Republic FC, a team considered to be from the second division of American soccer, in the quarterfinals of the United States Open Cup, the oldest football tournament in this country. Republic FC had already eliminated the San Jose Earthquakes in the previous round and brought down an MLS giant again on Tuesday night in front of 12,315 fans at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, thanks to the character and good football of their players and ineffectiveness of the local team.
The Galaxy, which left Javier Hernández, Julian Araujo and Víctor Vázquez on the bench, began their tragic night when they surprisingly went down on the scoreboard through Rodrigo López in minute 3 of the match after receiving a diagonal cross from the Honduran Douglas Martínez and shoot Jonathan Klinsmann.
Republic FC’s Spanish soccer player Keko left the game in the 13th minute with an injury and was replaced by Zeiko Lewis, but the Sacramento team did not seem to feel the absence of one of their main players.
The Galaxy came very close to tying the game were it not for some good saves from goalkeeper Danny Vitiello, who was vital to the away team throughout the match. The home team finally equalized in the 18th minute on an own goal by the Sacramento team when Damia Viader hit a corner kick from the left into her own goal.
In the second half, Sacramento came very close to scoring when Lee Desmond headed the galactic goalkeeper’s right post and then on a counter shot Matthew LaGrassa fired into the corner but his shot was deflected to the corner kick.
“We had a lot of lapses in concentration,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. “Goals change games and we had to come from behind twice.”
At minute 55 the heavy artillery of the Galaxy entered with Hernández, Araujo and Vázquez, but they could do little to tip the balance in favor of the Galaxy.
When the Galaxy pressed more, the Brazilian Luis Felipe Rodrigues scored the 2-1 for Sacramento with a shot from outside the area that Klinsmann could not stop, in a serious error by the galactic goalkeeper.
“Honestly, I don’t think the Galaxy took the game seriously, and we took advantage,” former Earthquakes player Felipe Rodrigues said.
“The second goal I couldn’t pass. I could say a lot of things but that can’t happen,” Vanney added. “It’s disappointing, for sure. It was something we wanted and we talked about it among ourselves. We are very disappointed and we are very upset.”
The Galaxy were unable to create important dangerous plays the rest of the game, even with Hernandez on the floor, and left empty-handed.
“This kind of win gives us confidence,” said Sacramento FC coach Mark Briggs, who declared Tuesday’s win the biggest of his coaching career.
Two wins away from winning the tournament, Briggs also started thinking about the crown after the match when asked if this Californian outfit could win the title.
“There’s no point in being in a tournament if you don’t think you can win it,” Briggs said.