CARSON, Calif. – There's some thought that the LA Galaxy's play in the first half of their romp earlier this week in Seattle might have been the finest performance in club history.
Considering the foe, that it was on the road in front of nearly 40,000 fans and what it meant in terms of the Western Conference race, and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest exactly that.
While there's no consensus on that, certainly not among Bruce Arena and his charges, their confidence following Monday's 3-0 win is towering, and now they want to build on the momentum to make a strong push toward the Supporters' Shield over the last three months of the season.
The next step comes Saturday morning at StubHub Center against the Portland Timbers (2:30 pm ET; NBC, free stream on NBCSports.com, TSN2 in Canada).
"It's important to continue playing the same way we're playing," captain Robbie Keane said. "I think if we do that from now until the end of the season, we can certainly go on a good run. The way we played against Seattle, that's the way I think we want to play, the way we want to get the ball and play quickly. And if we can continue to do that and keep the same momentum as we have, I think we'll be OK."
The Galaxy (8-4-6) have put in perhaps a dozen dominant performances this season, but they haven't always gotten a result they felt they deserved. But they've lost just once since mid-May and have romped to one-sided victories in two of their past three outings, the first a 5-1 destruction of New England three weeks ago.
Keane thought the Galaxy's play in Seattle was "probably in a long time in MLS one of the best performances" and that things are "starting to click now."
Landon Donovan was thinking in different terms.
"I don't know [if it was our best showing]," he said. "I mean, sometimes games go like that where everything's clicking, everybody's tuned in, the other team doesn't have their best half. It's hard to know, but that game's over, and it's time to look forward. If we lose this weekend, that game doesn't mean as much."
- Get the latest LA news at LAGalaxy.com
The Galaxy are back home, where they are 6-1-2 this year, on their favored wide field that's been re-sodded, and against an opponent that prefers to play.
"We respect and appreciate teams that come here and try to play," Donovan said. "Most teams come here and try to defend for 90 minutes. Portland always comes here and tries to have possession, move the ball and create chances, and that always makes for a good game."
It also adds to LA's fortitude.
"The confidence is the easy part now," Donovan said. "Everybody understands and has a blueprint of what it looks like to play a game like [we did against the Sounders]. Is every game going to look sort of as comfortable as the first half the other day? No, but we can match that effort every week – there's no reason why we can't.
"The talent and the attitude part and the way we play and move, that part is natural and always there. If we are defensively tuned in and competitive in that way, we're going to play very well every week. It doesn't mean we'll win every week, but we're going to play very well every week."