CARSON, Calif. – By this time in 2011, the LA Galaxy had it figured out. They sat on a 4-3-2 record and reeled off a 12-match unbeaten streak immediately afterward.
Piecing together such a streak this year seems rather improbable.
The Galaxy continue their downward spiral, just months removed from what many had called the greatest season an MLS club had ever had. Now, the club is suddenly having problems scoring goals (one goal in three games) as well as stopping them (zero shutouts).
HIGHLIGHTS: LA Galaxy 0, New York 1
As recently as a couple weeks ago, the team was brushing off its pedestrian play, claiming the slow start was just a blip on the radar. That's no longer the case.
“We keep saying we’re not worried about it,” midfielder David Beckham said in the wake of LA's 1-0 loss to New York on Saturday, their fifth defeat of the season – matching their loss total for all of 2011. “There’s got to come a point where we need to be worried about it, and we’re close to that now.”
With mounting losses comes the mounting frustration. Much like winning led to increased confidence and ultimately an MLS Cup title in 2011, losing could sink the players’ spirits and put the team at a disadvantage even before they take the field.
The trick for the Galaxy’s captain is to help his teammates take on his outlook on results.
“Me personally, it doesn’t weigh on me,” Landon Donovan said. “Win, lose or draw, life goes on. I try not to get too high when we win and I try not to get too low when we lose. You just have to keep an even keel and keep going.”
Exactly how do they do that?
“We have to work on the training field,” Beckham said. “That’s the only way of doing it. We have to get the confidence back, we have to get the belief back in the team and winning again, and then it will hopefully kick in.”
The Galaxy may not have had results go their way of late, but they're staying focused on the task at hand, according to Todd Dunivant.
“We’re by no means going to give up and by no means going to hang our heads,” the defender said. “We’ve got a big game at Montreal next week and that’s what we’re going to focus on. Every week, we know what the issues are and we just have to keep battling through it.”
Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.