Galaxy feeling pressure to advance

CARSON, Calif. – During last year’s MLS Cup Playoff run, the Galaxy say they were just happy to get to the Western Conference Championship.

This year, the Supporters’ Shield winners feel the pressure squarely on their shoulders ahead of the match against FC Dallas on Sunday for a chance to advance to the MLS Cup final. (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

“Last year, it was almost a surprise that we were there,” LA captain Landon Donovan said after practice Friday. “We were kind of running on the excitement of it. This year, we expected to be here. We expect to win this game and we expect to win the championship.

“There’s a little different pressure, maybe added pressure, but it makes it a little bit more fun.”

While the Galaxy enjoyed a late surge to earn the No. 1 seed in the West last year, Donovan points out that this season, LA were the cream of the crop from the very start and the primary contender to take the league title.

“It’s a little bit harder sometimes when you’re playing with that sort of expectation,” Donovan said, “but we’re a very mature team and we know how to deal with it.”

Forward Edson Buddle also believes the Galaxy are better equipped to manage the heightened expectations and pressure in this playoff run.

“This year I sense more belief in ourselves as a team, especially after going all the way last year [to the MLS Cup final],” he said.

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