Miscues make Galaxy lead disappear as Morelia rallies for comeback win in CCL


Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Galaxy


MORELIA, MEXICO – Three points were there for the taking, but errors in goal and by the officiating crew in the last 10 minutes proved disastrous for the Los Angeles Galaxy, who fell 2-1 to Monarcas Morelia in their CONCACAF Champions League match Tuesday night.

After a stellar goalkeeping performance making as many as seven saves on the night, Josh Saunders allowed an Adrian Aldrete shot from distance to slip between his legs for the equalizer. The bad lucky only continued in the 90th minute when Robbie Keane–who had scored the Galaxy’s first goal in the 52nd minute— was ruled offside on an apparent go-ahead goal.

According to replays after the match, the call was clearly incorrect as defender Gerardo Lugo clearly played Keane onside on the play. After the call, the Galaxy’s disaster culminated just a minute later when Miguel Sabah capitalized on poor marking on a corner kick to score the winning goal for Morelia. Following the match, Saunders was understandably gutted about the one moment even sheding a few tears after the match as one of his greatest nights turned into one of his worst.

“It’s disappointing for us to come down here and give up two goals late,” said Saunders. “We worked really hard and I feel gutted to have the situation that happened, questionable or not, it was still a mistake by me. The ref made a judgment call to call it a goal, I say otherwise, but that’s how the game goes. I commend the guys because they played extremely well tonight, but we couldn’t come away with the result.”

At the outset of the match, it was Morelia, who came out the more motivated side, capitalizing on a Galaxy team that appeared to be struggling with the altitude as well as the hostile atmosphere. With Ecuadorian left winger Joao Rojas leading the Morelia attack, the Monarcas peppered Saunders net with chances. Despite the lack of possession, it was the Galaxy with the finest chance of the half as in the 31st minute, Omar Gonzalez headed a ball off the cross bar that nearly into the Morelia net.

In the second half, the script switched as the Galaxy appeared to have more confidence dealing with Morelia’s advances. In the 52nd minute, Los Angeles broke through on the counter attack as Landon Donovan found Keane, who expertly went around Jorge Gastelum for the goal.

“We broke out a little bit and Robbie broke out well,” said Donovan. “I wanted to get it to him as quickly as possible. His first touch was great and then he did a good job to knock it around the guy and had a great finish.”

As the Galaxy took the lead, the chants in Morelos changed from “Vamos Morelia” (Go Morelia) to a more nationalistic slant as “Vamos Mexico” overtook the crowd. This support in the stands led to a response from the team as Morelia began to dominate possession and press Saunders for a goal.

In the 90th minute, Gonzalez smashed a header onto goal that forced a save from Morelia goalkeeper Federico Villar that appeared to lay stationary on the goal line. Keane raced onto the ball and fired it into the back of the net, seemingly giving the Galaxy the lead. However, moments later, the goal was called off as Honduran linesman Oscar Velasquez ruled the Irishman offside. According to replays following the match, Morelia’s Lugo was three yards in front of Keane as the ball was played to the Irish DP..

Just moments after their goal was called off, the night got worst as right back Frankie Hejduk was called for a foul setting up a free kick for Morelia, which led to two corners for Morelia. On the second corner, poor marking on the Galaxy’s part allowed Sabah to break free and head in the game winner.

“I don’t really know what happened, they just started coming at us late in the game, the first goal, they hit a shot outside and they got lucky,” said Gonzalez. “They didn’t get any chances from behind us, we kept us in front of us, and they just got that shot from outside the box that’s exactly what we wanted. It was anyone’s game and they sort of came back.”

The Galaxy is now tied with Morelia on points in group A with six, but Monarcas are on top due to their head-to-head advantage. The pair will return to Champions League action with the Galaxy traveling to Costa Rica to face Alajuelense on Sept. 21 while Morelia travel to Honduras to take on Motagua on Sept. 22.

Although the Galaxy departs Morelia with a loss, the impact of the atmosphere at the intimate Estadio Morelos clearly had an effect on Los Angeles. Following the match as the team pulled away, fans lined up to get in one last shot at the Galaxy with their middle fingers proudly in the air.

“It’s pretty impressive actually how much cache there is around our team now,” said Donovan. “Everybody knows who we are wherever we go. Most MLS teams come down here and people aren’t aware of who they are.”

Although the Galaxy was hated when on the field, their impact in the city of Morelia was unmistakable as Galaxy jerseys were sold and worn even in Morelia’s city center. Upon learning this fact, even the battle-hardened Donovan couldn’t help but be amused.

“It’s good, it’s putting our league in a good light and it’s a positive,” added Donovan. 

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93 Responses to Miscues make Galaxy lead disappear as Morelia rallies for comeback win in CCL

  1. Yogi says:

    Does CONCACAF have someone in charge of officials? I’d love to hear the explanation on the “offside” call…

  2. b says:

    Ugh, are you kidding me? I turned it off a few minutes after the disallowed Keane goal because I had to go somewhere.

  3. chris says:

    Terrible f*cking display by the Galaxy. Typical bunk ball bullsh!t. LA could be a powerhouse in CONCACAF but they decide to play Barret and Cristman. A complete f*cking joke

  4. Pete Wilson says:

    why don’t they just use instant replay?! it literally took us all of 3 seconds to realize that Robbie Keane was CLEARLY on side!
    They wanna keep technology out of soccer but yet all the refs rock headset’s [sigh]

  5. Rgodinez22 says:

    the ball bounced of a player before it was finally hit in, if it was a Morelia player it would have been onsides, if it was an LA player then it would have been offsides the ref must have though it came from a Galaxy player… need to watch a replay to be sure who it bounced off of

  6. The Dude says:

    I’m so pissed right now. The refs screwed MLS teams yet AGAIN. It’s so sad that the Mexican teams need all that help to win. The league needs to straighten things out south of the border. The whole CCL competition won’t be taken seriously until there’s fair reffing. That game should have ended 2-2.

  7. dgoshilla says:

    If you’re arguing that there are better players out there than Barret and Cristman then yes you are right about that. If you’re saying we should’ve had Beckham, Franklin and Ricketts out there I disagree. We were top of the table going in and we won’t have an issue getting through this round. In addition if it weren’t for a terrible call we’d be going home with at least 3 points.

  8. Angel FAN of USA says:

    Like always Galaxy score a beautiful goal from Keane and another was on the way but the Morelia GK send it out. Now after keane score the goal I saw all Galaxy playing Bunk ball, everyone was in the quarter of their own field letting Morelia take control of the game instead of keep playing forward and putting pressure. If Arena was afraid of loosing see what happen Galaxy lost the game cause the were letting Morelia shoot from every where. I hate to see Keane all by himself and STUPID DONOVAN playing defend instead of going forward that is the reason we never going to win in Mexico cause playing safe.

  9. poo says:

    agree that there are calls that seem to go against MLS teams, but can you honestly say that LA deserved to win or tie that game. They got a goal then gave up loads of possession and chances – literally the same script seen at least a half dozen times from MLS teams in Mexico.

    It’s frustrating, but the Mexican teams seem to know that if they keep up the massive amounts of pressure the MLS teams will crack.

    a 1-0 lead in the middle of the game for MLS teams may even work in favor of the mexican teams, because 99% of the time when the goal is scored by the MLS team its one way traffic.

  10. Limey says:

    Huh? What language is that?

  11. This Guy says:

    Looks like a Google Translate from spanish to English.

  12. A wise man once says:

    “At least” 3 points? And Chris take a chill pill.

  13. Ughhh says:

    So gutted right now. Ref was wrong calling off Keano’s 2nd goal, but it was close so it’s understandable. What I absolutely do not understand is how the 4th official decided 4 minutes of stoppage were necessary. Watch the 2nd half again and try to find even 2 minutes of down time. Bullshite.

  14. Raisa says:

    This is Robbie Keane’s first step into learning American soccer that refs like to disallow goals and rob games and be bias. Beckham figured this out and look what he does. He delays the game and fights with the ref. CONCACAF refs are so bias especially when we go against Mexico.

  15. Oranje Mike says:

    Questionable calls? In Mexico? Whah?

  16. Pepe says:

    Refs? We don’t need to steenking refs!

  17. Ash says:

    One would think that MLS fans would be used to incompetent referees.

  18. Dale says:

    You guys, please stay away from MLSNET for a couple of days…those commenters are sore losers,they always blame the refs when a MLS team loses…you win some you lose some…right?

  19. chris says:

    You have already made the playoffs. I don’t see how u think LA will easily make it through the group when they still have to go to central america twice

  20. chupacabra says:

    You do that, and meanwhile you should go to the store to get a clue.

  21. A wise man once says:

    Surely no refs are better than that one was!

  22. Hush says:

    Don’t act clueless dude. You know damn well what he means…. I hate bums who play the English 1301 professor role on SBI..

    I would like for you speak or write in Spanish in another forum to see how good you are at it. The man can speak two languages yet you act superior???? Ooook… Clown.

  23. Grant says:

    Man, the announcer from concacaf is butchering the rapids names.

  24. Soccer Guy says:

    How sad is it that when I saw the scoreline, I pictured exactly what had happened?

    It’s the same old story, and why I no longer watch MLS teams play on foreign soil in the Champion’s League. FIFA is an absolute disgrace. They know exactly what is going on and they do nothing. I can certainly understand when people watching games like these think soccer is an absolute joke.

    I would suggest that in the future MLS counter this continued disgrace by instructing referees in the return matches to fix the game for the U.S. I guarantee you FIFA would spring into action then!

  25. Limey says:

    Hush, Hush.
    I was just kidding around, besides I speak two languages…….English and American.

  26. Al says:

    Hahaha what a shame the mls champs losing 3-0 at home.

  27. Hush says:

    I have a DREAM that one day MLS teams will decide not to bunker up as soon as they score.

    Refs blow! But L.A should have kept some pressure in the midfield, instead they give them the entire field to play around with.

    I wish more NAT players had heart like Frankie… He’s not the best player, but the old man plays his heart out.

  28. g-dub says:

    Robbie Keane should also learn a thing or two about defending corner kicks. It was Keane who badly lost his mark and let the Morelia player basically get a free header in stoppage time to win the game. You wouldn’t expect such an amateur lapse from a player like that.

  29. KillerInstinct says:

    It goes back to Brue Arena tactics of buker down,punt/run, counter attack….what does Colorado and LA have in common- no possesion. Look at FC Dallas, RSL, Seattle they posses the ball, control the tempo and attack EVEN when they are up a goal. There offense is there defense, rather than counter attacking all game long. Which is why they have been susseful against CONCACAF teams

  30. FK Pirin says:

    If the refereeing is really that biased, what would happen if MLS simply boycotted the competition. CONCACAF would lose a lot of money. Then they might decide it was in their interest to get referees that are not as biased. On the other hand maybe the refs are just not very good rather than really biased. From the games I have watched I think they are just biased, I also suspect that bribery is occurring. Anybody else?

  31. FK Pirin says:

    This is what they used to do in Bulgaria, many referees were paid off and made ridiculous calls.

  32. poo says:

    Mor. had probably 75% of the possession in the second half, and created numerous chances. While the ref seemed to have blown the keene call, there were so many chances mor. could have reasonably had 3-4 in the second.

    The refs are not the root of the problem with the results. Sorry, but its still the talent gap – we are getting there though.

  33. g-dub says:

    Colorado Rapids are not very good at soccer.

    Colorado’s fans are being chanted down by Santos in their own home.

    When you have Scott Palguta at centerback against Santos, sorry but you’re gonna get f*d.

  34. FK Pirin says:

    I believe there was a criminal investigation that uncovered lots of bribery in Bulgaria and other Balkan countries based on statistically odd sports betting activity.

  35. Mo-one says:

    Hahahah. Who’s laughing now? LAme.

  36. g-dub says:

    Those things being said, the second Santos goal was the most offside thing I’ve ever seen.

  37. Ughhh says:



  38. KC says:

    I don’t know what’s more entertaining, watching LA bunker down and blow a lead or the ignorant comments in this site……definitively the comments

  39. Hush says:

    Oh ok, then that means the man can speak three languages…..Clown

  40. Good Jeremy says:

    I don’t really care for him or his style, but it’s hard to fire a guy who always finishes 1st or 2nd.

  41. Good Jeremy says:

    I’ve never noticed you do anything but troll.

  42. Kejsare says:

    Colorado, at least on the supporter’s group level were outchanted in their home opener as well by some upstart team.

    Color me not surprised.

  43. Supsam says:

    no one is forcing you to read the comments from a PRO MLS audience …but then again, maybe someone actually has a gun to your head and im being totally “ignorant” about it

  44. CrispyST3 says:

    Get em’. In my opinion, you straight put him back in place haha

  45. Limey says:

    You have some anger issues may I suggest some professional help?

  46. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    But how do you really feel?

  47. Jose Harkes says:

    f- LA

  48. Fred Garvin says:

    very Authentic of you Kejsare

  49. bml says:

    Hard to say. Statistically it seems odd to have three major calls at the very end of the game.

    1 – No passive offside or foul for contact with Saunders on the first Morelia goal.

    2 – Very obvious incorrect passive offside called against Keane on Galaxy goal.

    3 – Relatively weak foul called outside of the box for what hasn’t been a foul for the previous 90 minutes.

    I would love to see some data mining on CONCACAF games, but I don’t think it would prove bribes vs home crowd bias. You’d need to seem some sort of betting anomalies or actual evidence of bribes for that.

    I hated the reffing at the end of game about as much as I hated the bunkering.

    Anyone know how ref bribing has actually work when it’s been discovered? Do they get paid by the call or get paid if they can make an obvious call to swing a game?

  50. Martha Focker says:

    Hey q-dub, after watching the replay it turns out the player was Chad Barrett….but still, LA needed a bonafide defender marking lethal goal scorer Miguel Sabah.

    link to youtube.com

  51. Wm. says:

    You mad, bro?

  52. Mario says:

    Barret and Cristman stink, but Josh Saunders should have stopped both of those goals.

    Why is Ricketts not playing in such an important match???

  53. Josh says:

    +1 and Saunders choked

  54. Mark says:

    Saunders blows

  55. Miguel says:

    LA was missing 3 starting midfielders….Becks, Juninho, and Franklin. They should have put in Cardozo.

  56. Aeden says:

    Donovan Rickets doesnt let those goals in

  57. Kam says:

    what is the gap if Beckham, Juninho, Ricketts, and Franklin play???

  58. Syd says:

    Arena’s subs were simply awful. Jordan should not be playing professional soccer and Kirovski should be retired. How many chances has Barrett had in MLS?

  59. Ben says:

    Keane is too good a player to be paired with such garbaggio forwards

  60. Doug says:

    Typical Arena….not Donovan’s fault

  61. Soccer Guy says:

    The Galaxy were playing missing key players in a hostile environment at high altitude. I think they can be forgiven for not playing an all out attacking style and just trying to do what is necessary to get a result, which is exactly what they would have had without corruption lending a hand.

    Where was your talk of “talent gap” in favor of the U.S. when RSL cruised to the championship game last year and lost after dominating completely for the entire match?

    The Galaxy are also first in their CONCACAF division. The only talent gap is between your ears. :)

  62. soccer shoes says:

    Colorado, at least on the supporter’s group level were outchanted in their home opener as well by some upstart team.

  63. soccer shoes says:

    yes i think so too!

  64. poo says:

    I agree, the players mentinoed about help, as would not playing away, not at altitude etc. however, when you have subs like bryan jordan and chad barret who can’t connect 10 yard passes that is part of the talent gap I speak of.

  65. jb says:

    Cant believe all the negative posts aabout LA keeper. He was magnificent, despite being hung out to dry late in the game. Sure the refs screwed a MLS team out of another goal, but without Saunders the score could have been something like 6-2. I mean, what in the hell happened to LA’s midfield? They were completely invisible and did absolutely nothing to help out an overwhelmed defense. Its so frustrating to watch another MLS team lose it late because they have no COMPOSURE under pressure. And I would have thought Donovan, who had been playing very well in the middle of the field, would have used his experience to rally his teammates. The MLS teams just badly need some leadership in midfield when theyre down in Mexico trying to close a game out. Oh well, I guess we are seeing progress, just slowly…

  66. Truth says:

    When a player is at least a yard onside, that is not a miscue or mistake when you call back the goal. That my friends is deliberate cheating. I wish a sports “journalists” would look into the CONCACALF (as in calf head in your bed) reffing irregularities.

    link to yfrog.com

  67. ZoroEatsYou says:

    LOL. Whining about LA not getting a call. Heck, LA can’t win without Donovan’s PK per game.

  68. Hood Rich says:

    Who here is not surprised that goal was called off?

    This is Mexico and same cr*p happened to Columbus against Santos last year when they scored (i think it was the game winning goal) and it was called off
    because the guy who scored didn’t have a number
    on his shirt, yet ref/linesman allowed him back into the game before the goal…

    Mexico = B.S. Why do you think all the Mexicans want
    to come here? You think they don’t know their society is corrupt? If you want anything done, you always got to pay under the table with these people.

  69. Darthspud says:

    So much for MLS’ dominance of Mexican teams this year. MLS is back to it’s old form, blowing leads and getting blown out. Yesterday was very disappointing.

  70. paul says:

    Almost every CONCACAF game I’ve watched in Mexico, MLS teams get obvious good goals waived off. It happened to RSL last year in a game they eventually lost 5-4, and also to Columbus. MLS teams have to score twice for each one that counts. It happens too much to be random mistakes.

  71. Harriet Tubman says:

    Cardozo, yes. Cristman has no businesses being on the pitch.

  72. John says:

    RSL dominated? Which leg of the final?

    They actually played well on the road in the first leg and to make matters worse, Monterrey went up to Salt Lake missing quite a few starters and were able to pull out a result while keeping the RSL attack at bay.

  73. Tom in KY says:

    *shrug* At this point I’m not longer surprised when MLS teams lose this way in Mexico…that’s why the whole “MLS teams never win in Mexico” argument everyone liked like to throw around before this year always struck me as meaningless…It’s near impossible to win games on the road when you have to score twice for one to count…

  74. John says:

    The ref for the Morelia-LA match wasn’t Mexican….

    On top of that, I’m not sure what a soccer game has to do with Mexican society. Keep that stuff out of here man.

  75. Keanesogood says:

    Same here. Didn’t know Tea Party likes soccer so much, haha.

  76. g-dub says:

    Thanks, my bad. I saw it on a grainy Internet feed. Barrett then.

  77. hogatroge says:

    LA definitely deserved at least a draw. Defending was solid for 80+ minutes in an extremely difficult away environment. Altitude at the stadium was 6038 ft.

  78. d says:

    I would like to see the sort of “errors” or “miscues” the refs made go the way of an MLS team in Mexico at some point. I am not saying this was an obvious example of corruption, but how many times have we seen this before? Such consistent “bad” calls point to likely corruption.

  79. Hood Rich says:

    When have CONCACAF ever used a ref from the same country where the match is officiated? Of course the ref is not Mexican. He most likely is influenced/pressured to make favorable calls for the Mexican team. How long have you been watching US teams play there? This applies to any US soccer team that plays down there, regardless club/country.

  80. marco says:

    As usual the officials played a major role in two goals, one allowed, one disallowed. Everyone knows this is going to happen before the games start, so complaints after the games are silly. The only answer is to import officials from other regions.
    Arena’s subs were very poor. Both Jordan and Barrett were out to lunch. The Galaxy would have played better down a man than with them on the pitch.

  81. marco says:

    Yes he and Earl were way to slow to defend and the wingers seldom supported them.

  82. hogatroge says:

    All the Central American countries are biased against the big bad United States coming and threatening THEIR national sport. Just earlier this year, corruption was revealed in CONCACAF. You’ve got to be kidding if you don’t think it extends to refereeing.

    The problem is, there’s too much economic disparity between the US (and Canada) and other CONCACAF nations. This isn’t a problem in UEFA or CONMEMBOL.

  83. CrazyMike366 says:

    It was a painful loss to take because I don’t think it was a deserved loss.

    Moriela’s first goal is further evidence that goal line technology needs to happen and happen now. It shouldn’t be a judgement call – the entirety of the ball either did or did not cross the plane. If this happened in the Euro Champions League, the world’s press would be foaming at the mouth with anger. The England v. Germany goal fiasco in the World Cup was bad enough.

    I was literally screaming at my TV “WHY!? HE’S NOT OFFSIDE!” after Keane’s goal. Truly unfortunate for the Galaxy to have not walked away with at least a draw there. I really hope the G’s can win the group so they don’t get paired with MLS opposition or Santos Laguna in the first knockout round.

  84. Hood Rich says:

    I know in the past they imported refs from CONMEBOL for some of the WC qualifiers in CONCACAF. We should hope for guys like Elizondo from Argentina but I believe he’s retired since haven’t seen him around.

  85. ozotkd says:

    Absolutely agree, I feel that is why we lost. In the 1st half we only had what 2 or 3 chances and I believe the only one that really looked dangerously wahs the 1st ball Keane touched. In the 2nd half we score and then what did we do, sit back and bunker. Ridiculous, I know the Refs had alot to do with the final result but still we gave this game away when we could have kept the attack going and win without hoping to bunker and defend. Pathetic tactic.

  86. DCLee says:

    Then I guess Barcelona should never lose then;-) Soccer isn’t just possession and chances. It is finishing those chances or good defending if you are the away team in a hostile environment or even at home.

  87. DCLee says:

    Palguta, Earl and another back they trotted out vs Real Espana, Molody are awful but especially Palguta. He looks lost half the time and is very slow to react! And yeah that 2nd goal was a mile and a half offsides. Santos deserved the win though.

  88. DCLee says:

    Agreed about Saunders. That is the unfortunate reality of being a goalkeeper. Your mistakes are magnifies or if he keeps that shutout another ten minutes then they are praised. Just sucked that both goals went right through him after all those great stops. Thought Donovan did alright in mid and the loss of Juninho really hurt the Galaxy in my opinion.

  89. soccerhorn says:

    Instant replay in Mexico? Hah, that’s funny.

  90. FSegaud says:

    There was a match probably 5-7 years ago (maybe KC) where the Trinidad & Tobago ref “got sick”…fortunately there was a local ref who could do the job! And quite the job he did! My recollection of the details aren’t that great but I’m pretty sure the ref was a bit biased…PK’s and reds galore.

  91. FSegaud says:

    Very true but where are we after the GER/ENG match for goal line technology? NO WHERE! Instead, FIFA makes a joke about hosting rights for a 2022 tournament.

  92. TommyOC says:

    Did you somehow forget the two magnificent saves from Morelia’s GK that kept the game level before Keane’s first goal? And let’s not forget the crossbar bounce from Gonzalez’s header. Game could’ve easily seen the Galaxy up by 4.

  93. Catamount says:

    It has nothing to do with whether it bounced off a Morelia player. When the initial shot was taken Keane was onside. No Galaxy player intentionally played the ball until Keane scored so the play was clearly onside.