An LA Galaxy team that failed to show up for the big moment was swept aside. A Luis Felipe strike was enough for Sacramento Republic to outlast LA 2-1 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals Tuesday night.
Rodrigo “Ro Ro” Lopez gave Sacramento a dream start in just the 4th minute. Douglas Martinez got on the end of a deft through ball and cut back for the former Chivas USA attacker, who went near post before smashing a finish past Jonathan Klinsmann.
Sacramento’s defense shape frustrated the home team to no end. Despite LA equalizing in the 18th minute when Conor Donovan deflected an Efrain Alvarez corner kick into his own net, the Quails were executing the game plan to perfection. Soon after Andy LaGrassa smashed a header off Klinsmann’s goal post, manager Greg Vanney sent Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Julian Araujo and Victor Vazquez into the match.
However in the 70th minute, it would be defensive midfielder Felipe Luis smashing a low left-footed drive from distance that skipped past a flat footed Klinsmann and in.
“I honestly don’t think they took the game seriously and we took advantage” the one-time Earthquakes player said. “We took our opportunities and went for it”.
It was a fitting goal for the visitors, who resolutely defended from that point until the final whistle. And to give credit to Sacramento, the victory was fully earned.
Crashing out of the Open Cup left the players and coaching staff shaking their heads in disbelief. Had LA beaten the USL club, they would be two wins from a trophy and ultimately gotten them to CONCACAF, but the intensity wasn’t there on this night.
“The message in the locker room was…we didn’t get it done” sighed a disappointed Vanney in the postgame presser, who candidly admitted the intensity of the players was missing. “We all cared. And we wanted to do it. Our performance maybe didn’t feel sometimes like that. But, they did. The group cares very much about this. They’re very disappointed. And upset. And angry at themselves.”
“We have to respect every opposition the same way we respect LAFC. We respect Austin. We respect those teams.”