Galaxy sticking with philosophy
With a 1-1 draw against Real Salt Lake now in the books now, the Los Angeles Galaxy has at least stopped taking steps backward on this current road trip.
However, a draw against an expansion side that hasn't won in more than a month and hadn't scored in more than six full games of playing time can't be considered a step in the right direction either. Perhaps the final analysis is that the Galaxy just sidestepped another disappointing road loss.
Heading into the two games this week, the Galaxy were still upset about the previous week's two shutout losses. First place in the Western Conference was theirs for the taking and they let it slip through their grasp, a reality that wasn't missed by the players.
"It was a great opportunity for us," said defender Todd Dunivant. "Obviously we're disappointed, but we have to look at the big picture and realize there's 20 or so games left."
There's 18 games left in the Galaxy season after Wednesday night, which means there is still plenty of season left for Los Angeles to figure out how to score goals and win games on the road.
Landon Donovan, amongst others, has confidence in the team's philosophy as far as style of play.
"People think that it weighs on our minds. I think you keep playing and doing what you believe in," said the U.S. international. "We're playing well, we're just not getting results."
Unfortunately for the Galaxy, the standings don't reflect how many more shots you took than your opponent, or how many quality scoring opportunities you created. The standings reflect how many of those chances you finished, and if it was more than your opponent did. Right now, the Galaxy isn't getting that done away from home.
Steve Sampson has already indicated this week that he might make some wide sweeping changes to his starting 11 if things don't turn around quickly. While his team is playing well, they aren't playing to the standard that they set for themselves over the course of the first nine MLS seasons.
"We know we lost some critical points. We're a better team than what we're showing," said the Galaxy manager. "It would be very easy to sit back and hope for a playoff spot. That's not our attitude. We want to get home-field advantage."
Getting to stay out home throughout the playoffs will be critical for the Galaxy to achieve their ultimate goal of another MLS Cup title. Last season, the Green-and-Gold could have been playing the championship game in their own stadium. Instead, a late-season slump cost them first place, and they lost to Kansas City -- on the road -- in the Western Conference Final. That's something the Galaxy are looking to avoid this year.
Greg Daurio is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.