CARSON, Calif. – Throw out those horrid first 30 minutes in Tijuana, and the LA Galaxy feel pretty good about the way they've played this season, especially after watching everything come together so splendidly in last weekend's SuperClasico romp.
That 3-0 victory over Chivas USA has bolstered the confidence of what already was a pretty confident bunch heading into the first of back-to-back games against Vancouver.
“I think [we're where we should be],” Landon Donovan said this week as LA (1-1-1) prepared for Saturday night's clash with the Whitecaps (2-1-2) at StubHub Center (10:30 pm ET; MLS Live in US, TSN in Canada). “If we look at the games, I think we felt if we were a little better, we would have advanced out of the Tijuana [CONCACAF Champions League] series. I think we should have won the first game at home against [Real] Salt Lake, with some better finishing.
“… So we're doing well. We need to get on a little bit of a roll and start putting some points on the board.”
Head coach Bruce Arena said the Galaxy have played too few games, with two bye weekends past and another coming in a couple of weeks, and against too few foes to make a fair assessment.
“We need more games to be able to really [know],” he said. “I don't think you get a real good feel, you don't know where you are in terms of the rest of the league because after five games we will have had games against three teams. There's still another 15 teams in the league to play. So you don't really get a good feel for a lot of things at the end of this schedule, at the end of April. It's going to take some time.
“We have a good team. It doesn't always translate into wins. We have to have a good team and we have to win games for it all to make sense.”
Last week's win was huge just because it was a victory.
“We needed to win,” Donovan said. “We had one [win] against Tijuana here at home in the Champions League, but we hadn't won in the league. Winning helps everything. It relieves pressure, it lets everyone feel better and it builds your confidence.”
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The Galaxy had been as dominant in their opener but couldn't beat goalkeeper Nick Rimando in a 1-0 defeat to RSL. The SuperClasico was the first time everything came together for the Galaxy.
“It started to click,” Donovan said. “The beginning of the year's been choppy. Playing in the league is much different than playing in the Champions League, the games look different, so I think our guys are starting to find their feet.”
Captain Robbie Keane was most pleased with “the way we played and the manner we played,” starving Chivas of the ball while repeatedly creating scoring chances out of well-developed passing sequences.
“I certainly believe that there's still a lot more to come from is, there's no question about that,” he said. “We're only going to get better the more games we've played.”