Los Angeles Galaxy's Australia Visit Ends in 2-1 Loss to Newcastle Jets

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst INovember 27, 2010

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 27:  David Beckham of the Galaxy shoots at goal during the friendly match between the Newcastle Jets and the LA Galaxy at EnergyAustralia Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Newcastle, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Two words: utterly tragic.

Even though this was just an international friendly for Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy, this was a lamentable ending to a season that otherwise had a lion's share of success.

There was just no way a team that is eighth in a league of 11 in Australia should defeat a side that finished at the top in its own league of 16 (soon to be 18), right?

But it happened. History was made in New South Wales' Hunter Region.

Before a crowd of over 23,000 at EnergyAustralia Stadium in Newcastle, the Galaxy ended their year with a 2-1 loss to the host Newcastle United Jets FC.

It was an unimpressive effort from Los Angeles that saw a goal by Juninho disallowed in the first half. That allowed Newcastle's Labinot Haliti to score a decisive strike in the 57th minute.

I still have to wonder why this match did not end in a 2-2 draw. Clearly the goal by Juninho was legit because it passed the line. Unfortunately, the A-League's officiating has made MLS's counterparts look solid.

I will have to say that the Jets put on a dazzling performance defensively, winning possession and frustrating the attack.

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But Los Angeles didn't take this match seriously. Perhaps they could have if they had defeated FC Dallas and went on to win the MLS Cup.

I think the Galaxy made the biggest mistake of disregarding these international friendlies, dismissing them as buck-passers.

Everyone wanted to see what David Beckham could do. But what about Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez, Donovan Ricketts, Edson Buddle and the rest of the LA Galaxy first team? Shouldn't they treat this game like they are in it to win it?

They weren't.

Case in point: bad finishes, suspect passing and lax defending. In short, the same inept play that plagued them on Nov. 7 and their many other setbacks this year in their competitions.

It's as if the Galaxy said to the Jets and Branko Culina, "OK, we'll let you win this one because our season is done. We're not going to take this match seriously because we feel this is nothing more than a meaningless friendly with no bearing on the competitions that really matter."

That is the mindset I saw on the pitch tonight.

And it was an embarrassment to the organization, an embarrassment to Los Angeles, an embarrassment to Major League Soccer and (aside from the linesmen at the match) an utter disgrace to the game.

When next season begins, one can only hope that the Los Angeles Galaxy takes every match seriously. Including "meaningless friendlies."

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