CARSON, Calif. — June is not quite over and some teams have yet to play half of their games, but the LA Galaxy seem to be sending a clear message to the rest of the league:
If you want the Supporters’ Shield, come and get it.
The Galaxy, who have amassed a staggering 34 points through 18 games, are six points clear of their closest competitors, FC Dallas, and nine ahead of 25-point Seattle.
“We always set goals at the beginning of the year,” Galaxy defender Sean Franklin said. “The Supporters' Shield and winning the other competitions we have outside of MLS are important. Right now, we’re on a good track.”
After failing to make the playoffs for three consecutive years, LA have done well to climb back to their once-familiar perch atop the league. The club reached MLS Cup in 2009 and won the Supporters’ Shield in 2010.
The team has lost just two games this season, holding a 9-2-7 mark heading into Saturday’s match against San Jose (6:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer), and the club’s reputation around the league is rather high.
“We’ve always talked about how every team wants to beat us, that every team wants to beat LA,” Franklin said. “I don’t think teams fear us, but I do think teams respect us.”
How the Galaxy responded ahead of Saturday’s match against Colorado shows their determination and why they have earned that respect.
LA had an eight-game unbeaten streak before making the trip to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, but the last two matches had been anything but noteworthy. A scoreless draw with D.C. United and an inability to hold a 94th-minute lead against Toronto were not the results they were looking for at home.
“We knew we let down against DC and when we drew Toronto, it was all or nothing in the third game,” midfielder Mike Magee said. “We felt like we had to get a win and had to get some confidence back.”
While the DC match was a bit of a lethargic effort throughout, the Galaxy lead Toronto FC by a goal with more than three minutes gone in second-half stoppage time, yet the team failed to earn the full three points.
LA have games against Western Conference rivals San Jose and Seattle coming up, and the team has targeted those games as important ones to help distance themselves from the rest of the league. With a 4-0-4 mark at the Home Depot Center, they do not have the most home wins in the league — both FC Dallas and Portland have five — but the team has tried to compensate for that.
“[We] can’t give away points at home, Magee added. “That was one thing we said at the beginning of the year.”