CARSON, Calif. – Last month's two-week international break was exactly the tonic the LA Galaxy needed. Rested and recovered, their play has improved as they rattled off a three-game winning streak.
That run was cut short with losses to San Jose and Philadelphia – two games LA feel they should have won. Heading into Sunday’s match in Chicago (3 pm ET, ESPN, live chat on MLSsoccer.com), the Galaxy are determined to get some of those points back.
“The reality is, is we should be five wins in a row right now and now we find ourselves behind the eight-ball a little bit again,” Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said. “It’s difficult to take but the reality is now it’s over. We can either moan about it or we can … get ready for Chicago.”
Entering the weekend, the Galaxy sit in a logjam towards the bottom of the Western Conference table, two points back of fifth-place Colorado and one point ahead of both Portland and Chivas USA.
“Our next three games are away so we don’t have time to sulk on this,” Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza said. “We have to get points.”
It's been frustrating, but the champs will have to deal with it, according to head coach Bruce Arena.
“It is, no question about it,” Arena said. “We’ve lost a bunch of games by a goal, a bunch of games we should have won. We should be a team sitting with 30-some odd points.”
Chicago will pose some challenges. The Galaxy have just two shutouts this season, neither on the road. In their last three road games, they've allowed eight goals. The Fire, meanwhile, have slowly climbed the Eastern Conference ladder after a slow start of their own.
Still, Arena insists the team’s poor position in the table isn’t due to poor form but rather the cause of a few unfortunate lapses in concentration.
“This is not about playing poorly for 18 games,” Arena said. “This is about playing poorly in a couple of spots in 18 games that have cost us severely.”
Sunday’s match in Chicago will be the beginning of a trying stretch for the Galaxy. Six of the team’s next eight games will be on the road, with the two home matches both against local rivals Chivas USA. While playing at home is certainly preferable and would perhaps help the team make a push for a playoff run, the team needs results regardless.
“It doesn’t really matter, just have to get on the field,” DeLaGarza said. “Everything happens between the lines, no matter where it is and clearly we have to do better at that.”