Barrett: Galaxy must eschew excuses, push for playoffs
CARSON, Calif. — Nearly everything that can go wrong for the LA Galaxy this season has.
And while players and coaches try to figure out exactly how to turn things around, Galaxy striker Chad Barrett said the end result must yield victories, and at a fast rate.
"People have to get out and show their competitive side and really come out and push these last 21 games," Barrett said. "If we don't win two-thirds of these games, there's likely a chance we're not going to make the playoffs."
Doing so would require an about-face compared to how the season has gone on so far. The Galaxy have lost eight of their 13 games, roughly the same rate Barrett set for the club to find success.
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To complicate matters, the club will be missing its top two strikers once play resumes Sunday against Portland (7 pm ET, watch LIVE online). Robbie Keane is with Ireland at Euro 2012 while Edson Buddle was lost for three to six weeks after having knee surgery. Barrett now figures to be the go-to man up top, a responsibility he's fine with.
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"This is my chance, right?" he said. "Robbie and Edson were getting a bulk of the starts, and I feel like I should be in there more. Here's my chance to show it. I thought I've had a good run of games in terms of goals and assists, but that's going to have to be a constant thing with me if I want to stay in the lineup, especially when those guys come back."
Barrett has picked up two assists in the last two regular-season games and another in a US Open Cup match, the club's last competitive outing. Still, his offensive contributions have not been enough to help the team snap out of its seven-game winless skid in league play.
Having gone so many games without a win is testament to how opposite this year has been from last year.
"As a group, we haven't managed our schedule well, we haven't managed how we work out, what we do each day, how we approach each day," Barrett said. "It's not the same mentality we had last year where we could go into every game last year and we knew we were going to win, we knew we had a chance to win. Now it's a different kind of mentality."
While the roster remained mostly intact, the club suffered some key losses that have been irreplaceable.
"Gregg Berhalter, Frankie Hejduk, Chris Birchall – they all brought something so competitive, just that old-man championship mentality that you just can't replace," he said. "Gregg was a great guy, he kept it very serious in the locker room. And then you had Frankie there for just the banter and stuff like that and you need that coming down.
"They need to show the rookies all the sides of being a professional soccer player. It's not always so serious, you can't be afraid to make mistakes. That's how you pick yourself back up, that's how we pick each other back up and we haven't done a good job of picking each other back up. It's been more of the blame game than anything else."
One thing that has gone against the Galaxy, Barrett said, has been the small things, and that's led to plenty of big mistakes and shortcomings.
"We've had bad bounces all year so far, with red cards, with own-goals, with injuries, with people being away, and I think we're letting that get to us," he said. "Instead of playing the game, we're trying to find excuses like that and that's unacceptable."
Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com.