Road Worriers: How will LA Galaxy change their horrific record away from StubHub Center?
CARSON, Calif. – The team the LA Galaxy want to be showed up in last weekend's romp over Philadelphia. Now they're looking to build on that, and a Sunday afternoon tilt in Chicago (4 pm ET, MLS Live) offers an opportunity for a rare road win – and a rarer three-game winning streak.
Landon Donovan's presence, after his controversial omission from the US national team's World Cup roster, has pumped confidence into the side, especially after his MLS Player of the Week performance in the 4-1 rout of the Union.
LA have won just one regular-season league game away from StubHub Center in the past year – a 1-0 victory at Vancouver last August – and are 3-11-7 in such games since capturing their second straight MLS Cup title in 2012. They've won three in a row just once since then, also in August, after stringing together at least three wins nine times in Bruce Arena's first four full seasons in charge.
“I think it's important now that we get a result away from home,” said captain Robbie Keane, who fed two of Donovan's goals and scored his seventh of the season last weekend. “Certainly, there is a lot of talk about our performances away from home. Even though we've done well of late, we haven't won many games, so I think it's important to certainly get the three points [against the Fire].
“We're on a fairly good position at the moment, in good shape. We're looking like the old Galaxy and looking like that we can roll over any team.”
The Galaxy (4-3-3) have been dominant in more games than not this year – 7-0-3 wouldn't be an unfathomable record – but have failed to take care of points, especially on the road.
“We've struggled results-wise,” Donovan said. “We've actually played well. We played well in [a 1-1 draw at Real] Salt Lake, we didn't play poorly in [a 1-0 loss at] Colorado, we played well [in a 2-2 tie at] Vancouver. We just haven't gotten results. We played really well in [a 1-1 draw at] Portland, and we should have won the game.
“So we're playing well, but we need to have that sort of killer mentality, and we have to be more professional if and when we get leads to hold onto them and make sure we get the points.”
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Finishing chances has been the greatest obstacle for the Galaxy, but that evaporated last weekend. What's needed now, Keane says, is to “just play the same way.”
Donovan thinks it's important to keep the performance against Philadelphia “in perspective.”
“Obviously, Philly has had a rough start to the season, so I don't think they're necessarily the benchmark of the best teams in the league right now ...,” he said. “I thought we got to doing a lot of the things that we do well.
"I thought we were aggressive, we got around the ball well, we limited their chances, and then we were ruthless in front of goal. When we do those things, we're going to win most days.”