CARSON, Calif. — With lofty expectations placed on the LA Galaxy this season, it seems that anything short of a perfect start to the 2012 year would be cause for concern.
As it turned out, the season has not started off perfectly at all but the only concern surrounding this club is coming from the outside.
“Everyone’s writing us off: ‘We’re not going to make the playoffs, we’re not going to do this,'" defender A.J. DeLaGarza said. "I think we had four points last year in the first three games and this year we have three. We’re not too far off where we were last year and you saw what we were able to do last year. Guys still have a positive and open mind.”
Heading into Saturday’s match against league leading Sporting KC (4 pm ET, ESPN, LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com), Galaxy players still believe in themselves.
ESPN PREVIEW: KC v LA
“We have a big game, a big test” DeLaGarza said. “What better test than to do it against MLS-leading Sporting KC at their place? We’re excited about it. We know we’re still a good team.”
Still, the Galaxy’s record is hardly spotless so far. They have won just once in three league games and yielded seven goals, or one-fourth the amount of the total goals they gave up all of last year. In all competitions, LA have allowed 11 total goals and have three losses at home — three more than they had in 2011.
Because of that, the team has taken its share of criticism. But players say the negativity isn’t exactly worrisome.
The Galaxy may have run away with the Supporters’ Shield and walked to their third MLS Cup title in 2011, but that season got underway in a less than smooth manner also. After a 1-0 win at Seattle, they struggled to earn a point at home against the Revs and followed that up with a 4-1 loss to Real Salt Lake, a match played without Landon Donovan.
Last Saturday, without Donovan, the Galaxy lost to the Revs 3-1 and the bottom has seemingly fallen out of the season; that is, to anyone outside the club.
“Anybody that actually thinks they know what is happening in the league in the first three or four games is mistaken,” head coach Bruce Arena said. “There are a lot of games to be played.”
Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.