Dave Romney of the LA Galaxy celebrates his goal against La Maquina in the 2016 US Open Cup. Teammate Jose Villarreal is shown injured in the background. Photo: LA Galaxy
An early red card, a controversial goal in overtime, and a whole lot of questions after Tuesday night’s game at StubHub Center.
Chaos reigned but Dave Romney scored what proved to be the game-winner in the first overtime as Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS) defeated Santa Ana (Calif.)-based La Maquina (UPSL), 4-1, in a 4th Round game.
“I had no idea what was going on,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said afterward.
Arena definitely was not happy that his team had to play more than 100 minutes with 10 men after midfielder Rafael Garcia was sent off for a horror tackle in the 17th minute.
“We shot ourselves in the foot there,” Arena said. “Not a smart way to play. I thought (the red card) was warranted.”
But the victory advances L.A. into the Round of 16 for the … Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament, which Galaxy won previously in 2001 and 2005.
“I think in games like this you are in for a surprise,” said Sebastian Lletget, who scored twice in overtime to seal the win.
Galaxy applied early pressure and earned three corner kicks in the first five minutes, as La Maquina’s defense survived on wits and luck for 15 minutes.
Alan Gordon missed out on a sure goal in the 10th minute, when a cross from Jose Villareal went unfinished at the far post, trickling across the goal line as Gordon’s sliding attempt was inches short.
Five minutes later Villareal was the recipient of a long cross from Raul Mendiola, chesting down the ball across the line past La Maquina keeper Luis Sosa.
“Clearly, we were going to get a goal,” Arena said.
Former Chivas Guadalajara striker Edwin Borboa had a solid shot on goal in the 26th minute, forcing a jump save from Galaxy keeper Clement Diop, and La Maquina found a groove with a pair of opportunities leading to its goal in the 28th minute.
Forcing the ball back, center half A.J. DeLaGarza misplayed a ball to Diop, and Borboa pounced, supplying an easy finish for an equalizer.
“They got that goal on my mistake,” DeLaGarza said.
Borboa is the first amateur player to score in the first four rounds in the modern era of the tournament.
“(La Maquina) did a solid job. You could see some of their guys have experience,” Arena said.
La Maquina, or “The Machine”, came out firing early in the second half, but Galaxy absorbed the amateur club’s heat without giving up playing two forwards and went to overtime drawn at a goal apiece.
“They made a couple of plays, their goalkeeper made a few saves and they worked hard,” Arena said.
Early in overtime, Villareal was fouled on the edge of the penalty area and stayed on his back. Second-half substitute Jack McBean stood over Villareal, stretching his leg, as players caught their breath.
Baggio Husidic, another Galaxy second-half sub, stood over the ball and looked at referee Ramon Hernandez.
“He goes (shrugs) so I kicked out, passed to the left,” Husidic said. “I didn’t ask for a whistle, told the ref I wasn’t going to ask for a whistle, and he said ‘OK.’”
Husidic’s pass connected with Romney, who placed a shot past La Maquina’s Sosa as the stout keeper scrambled to defend his line.
“Am I allowed to shoot this? Is this really real?” Romney rhetorically asked. “I just got it on my right foot and tucked it away.”
Lletget scored on a penalty in the 105th minute and added a second on a breakaway in the 115th.
FULL MATCH REPLAY (NOTE: The controversial goal begins at 2:32:40)