Galaxy seek to smooth rocky road
The road has not been a kind place to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the recent past. A year ago, the Galaxy won only three of 16 games on the road; that came after a disastrous campaign where they became the first team not to win a single game away from home, beginning the season with an eight-game road trip while The Home Depot Center was being built.
This year started rather ominously too, when the Galaxy were dismantled by Columbus at Crew Stadium in their season opener. Since that game, the Galaxy have managed to turn things around at home, and are now looking to carry that winning attitude with them on the road this week in Salt Lake City.
Head coach Steve Sampson took over the Galaxy near the tail end of last season, and is hoping to fix the Galaxy road jinx. The Galaxy boss has a theory or two on what might be wrong.
"Historically around the world teams play not to lose rather than to win," said Sampson. "That's an attitude we have to change."
The "get a result on the road" mentality is very true both on the club level and the international level around the world. But with the way the Galaxy have been dominating teams at home, there's no reason why that brand of soccer shouldn't work on the road.
The Galaxy players know that when they play their game, they are very tough to beat, which is why so many of the veterans feel that the road difficulties are more of a mental problem than a tactical one. Center back Tyrone Marshall is in his fourth season with the Galaxy, and has seen hostile crowds around the world playing with the Jamaican national team.
"You can say it's a frame of mind. At home, we have the crowd behind us," Marshall said. "We're professionals though. We have to go on the road and find ways to win."
Another Galaxy veteran and fellow international on the back line is Chris Albright. In his mind, a change in personnel this offseason could also help turn things around.
"There are going to be a lot of guys on the field that those sentiments don't carry over, so that ought to help," said Albright.
All tolled there are five players in this year's first-choice Galaxy starting 11 that are new to the team. None of them have experienced the Galaxy road woes to date, and have helped to carry this year's team to an impressive four-game winning streak.
According to Marshall, that winning streak has given this team the confidence it needs to head out on the road and get more than just a tie.
"With the attitude we're taking, we're going to Salt Lake looking for three points," he said.
Greg Daurio is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.