CARSON — The sound heard as the final whistle sounded at Dignity Health Sports Park was the chorus of boos from Galaxy fans as the team crashed out of the U.S. Open Cup.
Their departure came after a 70th-minute goal from Luis Felipe Rodrigues that somehow got under Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann and into the net for the 2-1 quarterfinal win in front of 12,315 on Tuesday night at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Sacramento will face the winner of the Sporting Kansas City-Union Omaha quarterfinal in the semifinal round (July 26-27).
“I thought we had a good start, the first couple of minutes and I think really their first possession, we’re down 1-0,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. “The amount of just lack of concentration, turnovers, just simple missed passes, it’s just killer. … It was poor, there’s no two ways about it.
“I just thought the overall performance tonight was not good enough. For the group, we’ve talked about this being something that we wanted to go for and it was something important. Part of it was for the experiences like we had tonight. OK, it didn’t go our way, but this is what it feels like to lose in a knockout game that matters. You only have so many games in the course of a season that are like this. Where there’s really something on the line, where you really feel that and it’s better to experience that a couple times or a few times throughout the course of a season than to have it right at the end of the season. Good, bad or indifferent, now we have to deal with it.”
Sacramento didn’t come South to hide from the Galaxy. The USL squad opened the scoring early and probably should have taken a lead into halftime.
Sacramento got on the scoreboard in the fourth minute. Douglas Martinez, from the right wing, crossed to Rodrigo Lopez, who deposited the ball into the net.
In the 18th minute, the Galaxy took advantage of a Sacramento own goal as Conor Donovan headed in the ball off of an Efrain Alvarez corner kick.
That’s where the score remained heading into halftime.
Early in the second half, Sacramento again proved that it wasn’t intimidated by the moment as Lee Desmond went up for a header off of a corner kick, but the ball hit the post.
In the 59th minute, the Galaxy made the first big substitution move, bringing on Chicharito Hernandez, Victor Vazquez and Julian Araujo.
The end result provided nothing substantial as the Galaxy looked like a weary team as the minutes ticked away.
“It’s a very disappointing loss,” Galaxy defender Kelvin Leerdam said. “This was a big opportunity for us as a team to try to win a title, so it was a big opportunity that we let slip.
“They (Sacramento) were very organized, we had the ball but we didn’t create as much … it’s a difficult one …”
As the five minutes of stoppage time came to an end, the Galaxy had one final attempt, but Sacramento goalkeeper Daniel Vitiello secured it as time expired.
Also as the play ended and Sacramento started to celebrate, Galaxy fans were throwing bottles and cups at the Republic players.
The Galaxy returns to MLS play on Saturday with a road game against the San Jose Earthquakes.
The Galaxy was vying to make its first U.S. Open Cup semifinal since 2006. The last Galaxy team to win the tournament was the 2005 team, coached by Steve Sampson. That team also won the MLS Cup. A member of that double-title team was defender Todd Dunivant, who is now the President and General Manager of Sacramento Republic.
This Galaxy squad again proved that it has a lot of room for improvement.
“When you play a team you think you’re better than, you have to come with the same intensity and then if you do, your quality will make the difference,” Leerdam said. “If you don’t bring the same intensity as they do, it’s going to be very difficult.”