CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan said leading up to the LA Galaxy's SuperClasico showdown Sunday with Chivas USA that it was "important we're in a playoff position before this World Cup break.”
A 1-1 draw in that game, however, left the Galaxy (4-3-5) seventh in the Western Conference, four points out of fifth place, which is where Donovan thought they needed to be heading into the two-week league hiatus.
They've still got games in hand on everybody in the division, as few as one (on Vancouver and San Jose), as many as four (on FC Dallas), and three on Seattle, Real Salt Lake and Colorado, the top three teams in the West.
It's been an odd first third of the season for LA, who have lost as many as 11 points they could have easily picked up, including after dominating their cross-stadium rivals. They've played well most of the campaign but have struggled to turn form into points.
"Were disappointed," Donovan said after Sunday's clash. "I think if we would have won this game, we would feel pretty good about where were at, but we've had sort of a choppy start to the season where we've played well in certain games and we haven't gotten the results. And then we've had a few games now where we haven't played well.
"And so tonight we can't really look in the mirror and say we deserved to win the game. We can take a few days now to rest and recover, but we've got to be ready when we go to San Jose [June 28]."
The problems have been about finishing chances and, at times, creating chances from continuous possession. Defensive lapses have been costly. The Galaxy need more complete performances, Donovan suggested.
"It's about concentrating over 90 minutes," he said. "We have long stretches of pretty much every game where we're in control, we dominate, but we're either not punishing teams or we're letting our concentration go for a few minutes. The league has gotten better and better, and there's players on every team that can hurt you, and that's what happens when you let your guard down."
- Get the latest Galaxy news at LAGalaxy.com
The Galaxy are fifth in the West on points per game, with 1.42, but games in hand are valuable only if they can be won.
"You have the games to play, but that doesn't mean you're going to make the three points. It's a hard situation," midfielder Marcelo Sarvas said. "It's hard to look there and think like we have maybe nine points, but if you don't make, you stay there, where you are. You have to play to win, and everybody knows how hard this league is."
Head coach Bruce Arena isn't fretting.
"We've only played 12 games, right?" he said. "We have 22 more games left. There's some time to play, not that I'm pleased with where we are. I'm certainly not discouraged."