When the LA Galaxy take the field at Toyota Park on Sunday (4 pm ET, TeleFutura), they will get there on fumes.
Star midfielder Landon Donovan has not played the last two games and is a question mark with a knee injury; David Beckham, Juninho and Jovan Kirovski are all suspended; and this will be the Galaxy’s third road game in a span of nine days.
A draw, then, would be a favorable result, right?
“Every time we step on the field, we’ve established an environment in LA where we play to win, we expect to win,” Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee told MLSsoccer.com. “It doesn’t matter if we’re missing David [Beckham], Landon [Donovan], Juninho. It doesn’t matter, we’re going to play to win.”
The Galaxy have been shorthanded in games throughout the season, having missed Juan Pablo Angel, Donovan Ricketts and Omar Gonzalez at different times. But when you’re wearing the Galaxy jersey, the expectations don’t change.
Against D.C. United, LA did not have Chris Birchall or Donovan available but the team still went out in search of a victory, according to Magee. And in Toronto, with no Donovan, the Galaxy were again the aggressors.
“It’s easy to see that we were playing to win those games and probably deserved to win those games,” Magee said. “We put in the work as well. We know that we don’t get anything given to us just because we’re LA. But we expect to win.”
The most glaring reason why the Galaxy settled for two points from the matches instead of six was their inability to finish. Some of that was due to poor marksmanship and some attributed to bad luck. For different reasons, the draws against DC and Toronto were exasperating.
“We just have to keep playing the way we’re playing,” Magee said. “We all know we could have easily won those games [in DC and in Toronto] if we finished off a play or two. We defended well enough, we definitely put in more than enough work to get six points.
“We’ve just got to trust that we’re playing the right way and we’re creating chances and working for each other. If we continue to do that, we’re probably going to win.”
The Galaxy will have to try and sort out their starting midfield ahead of the match against Chicago on Sunday. With at least half of the regular starting lineup out, LA could welcome back Birchall and Michael Stephens into the starting lineup or Bruce Arena could call on Paolo Cardozo as well. Magee could also reprise his left midfield role once more.
But whoever starts in the middle or anywhere else on the field, Magee said the team’s mind set won’t change.
“We’re not getting fazed at all,” Magee said. “We’re not shying back or thinking this isn’t a game we shouldn’t win just because we’re missing a bunch of guys. We have other guys who are more than capable of doing the job. We’re not scared of missing players and playing on the road. We’re going to give it our best shot. We’re always going to play to win.”