In a shocking twist, LA Galaxy is out of the US Open Cup.
The MLS giants lost 2-1 to USL Championship side Sacramento Republic on Tuesday night at Dignity Health Spots Park as strikes from Rodrigo Lopez and Luis Felipe Hernandez canceled out Conor Donovan’s own goal and propelled the underdogs to the semifinals.
The defeat came as a bombshell after the Galaxy triumphed over rivals LAFC to reach the quarterfinals.
Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney didn’t hold back when expressing disappointment, highlighting the players’ lack of intensity and unwillingness to fight for the win.
“We didn’t play with the same intensity tonight as we did against LAFC, as an example, or [in] some of the other games and that can’t happen. Every time, we’ve got to play with that. That’s one of the reasons why we went for it, is to have the emotion that is involved in a night like tonight good, bad or indifferent. Now we have to deal with it.”
Vanney kicked off the match with a slightly rotated squad before sending in Chicharito and Victor Vazquez for the final half-hour to strengthen the attack and find the equalizer. But the pair failed, handing Sacramento their sixth win of the competition and their second triumph over an MLS team.
The Republic also defeated the San Jose Earthquakes in the round of 16.
“I think there are some guys on our team that need to turn the meter, when it comes to just intensity and compete and fight, to a different level. We have some guys who come out and they do the running and they’ll do the work and they’ll do some of the stuff, but in these games sometimes it’s about being physical, it’s about winning space. It’s about winning first and second balls. It’s about some of those things,” Vanney added.
“I think sometimes maybe, within the mentality of our group, our mindset is a little bit like the game is gonna be all soccer all the time and it’s not. The foundation that you have to have to play soccer is you still have to out-compete the opposition. You still have to do some of that stuff. And I feel like we’re a little light sometimes in that category.”
Beyond the US Open Cup, the team has seen an inconsistent 2022 Major League Soccer campaign. LA Galaxy kicked off well, winning four of the first six matches before seeing an unpredictable stretch.
While LA Galaxy has managed fifth place on the Western Conference standings with a record of 7W-5L-3D, Nashville and the Seattle Sounders could easily trump the giants with one victory.
The team returns to action on Saturday, visiting the San Jose Earthquakes at Stanford Stadium.