Galaxy's Arena: We're playing well enough to win MLS Cup
CARSON, Calif. -- If the LA Galaxy's first-half onslaught the other night didn't throw a scare into the other three clubs in contention for the MLS Cup title, perhaps Landon Donovan's words will.
The Galaxy captain says his team is playing its best soccer of the season when it most counts and the performance in LA's 3-1 romp at San Jose to advance to the Western Conference championship is what Seattle can expect.
“I think we're all feeling very confident right now. We're kind of feeding off each other's energy,” Donovan said on the eve of Sunday evening's first-leg clash with the Seattle Sounders at the Home Depot Center (9 pm ET - ESPN, TSN2, RDS2). “There was something good about the energy going into the San Jose away game. There was something special in the locker room -- we could all feel it at halftime. After the game and all this last couple of days, we've all been excited. I think we're all feeding off each other.
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“We're starting to play close to our potential, and we want to keep it going.”
The Galaxy have been pretty good since the start of June, going 18-5-5 in all competitions while averaging 2.18 goals per game. After a little injury-prodded hiccup -- a three-game winless streak and two goals conceded in three of four games -- they closed the regular season by beating Seattle, 1-0.
In the playoffs the Galaxy finished strongly to beat Vancouver in the Western Knockout Round game and were by far the better team in the 1-0 home loss to San Jose in the Western Conference semis first leg before scoring three times in 19 first-half minutes to push aside the Supporters' Shield winners in the return leg.
“I don't think people expected us to go out there and win [in San Jose] ...,” Beckham said. “We knew that it was possible. It felt different going into this game than it did going into the first game at home. There was a feeling of confidence going into the game, and you could feel it straight from getting on the field for the warmup. It was a different team out there.”
Tommy Meyer's growth at center back has been pivotal -- LA's backline looks like it's at full strength, even with A.J. DeLaGarza sidelined -- and Edson Buddle's return bolsters an attack that has fed off the form of Donovan, Beckham, Robbie Keane, Juninho and Mike Magee. That quintet has 45 goals and 35 assists since June. They teamed up for five goals and five assists in three playoff games.
“We're playing all right. Playing all right,” head coach Bruce Arena noted. “Playing well enough to win this competition.”
Scott French covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com.