Earlier in the 2017 MLS season, it was unusual to see LA Galaxy head coach Curt Onalfo sub out Jelle Van Damme against the Chicago Fire. However, ever since that decision, it has paid off for the Galaxy as they are 4-2-3 and in the sixth spot in the Western Conference standings with 22 points.
When the Galaxy traveled to face the San Jose Earthquakes, Van Damme scored his first goal in his Los Angeles tenure. Unfortunately, the Galaxy fell short in a frustrating 2-1 loss, giving up a goal in the 94th minute.
Van Damme was awarded his second yellow card by referee Allen Chapman for arguing for a clear handball that occurred in the box before San Jose’s stoppage time winner. Van Damme expressed his frustration of the result and ejection according to Adam Serrano of LA Galaxy:
“It was a reaction after the game. It was quite frustrating when you work your [butts] off to earn a result and then at one point in the game, the referee decides to play every ball in the advantage of San Jose,” Van Damme said. “We had a clear handball from [San Jose defender Victor Bernardez] when I hit the ball back inside [late in the second half], and he was doing nothing. That was the third handball during the game, so after the game, I just lost [it].
“I know that I shouldn’t have done it, but it’s hard when you work your [butt] off for 90 minutes, and then you play 12 against 11. I just told him that he screwed us over, then he gave my second yellow and the red card. That’s his call. I apologize to the team for the red card, not to the referees. He screwed us over.”
Heading into their next match against Real Salt Lake, the Galaxy will be without Van Damme after being suspended. Earlier this season, the Galaxy defeated them, 2-1.
With Giovani dos Santos wrapping up the FIFA Confederations Cup with Mexico, it is unlikely the Galaxy star will return for the matchup. He made three appearances for Mexico and is expected to receive a brief rest before returning to the pitch for Los Angeles.