LA Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget had yet to even escape CenturyLink Field after an embarrassing 5-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders when he turned his focus toward Friday's looming Heineken Rivalry Week clash against LAFC (10:30 pm ET | ESPN - full TV & streaming info).
"I think it’s a must-win for us," said Lletget after playing 63 minutes in the loss. "We’re at home. There’s no reason why we can’t. We should have some guys back that will help. But especially after today, we definitely need to win."
The Galaxy still sit to the good side of the Western Conference playoff line on 37 points, and have already taken four points out of six from their El Trafico rivals.
But things are trending the wrong way. By itself, Seattle's romp at the expense of an LA side missing five regular starters could've been thrown away. Instead, it was a miserable day that compounded the angst already present after twice giving up leads at home in consecutive 2-2 draws at StubHub Center.
"We need to be angry," midfielder Perry Kitchen insisted afterward. "We have eight games to go. We need to make the playoffs. I think if we win four, I think we’re in. Five for sure, I would say, just with the history of the points. But yeah, we need to be angry, we need to be up for it. We’ve got a huge game on Friday against our crosstown rival."
An improved mentality would help, though it might not alone solve LA's woes. Neither would the return of striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic or potentially a couple others from the list of recently injured that includes Romain Alessandrini, Michael Ciani, Giovani dos Santos and Jonathan dos Santos.
"I know we’re missing guys, but there’s no excuses," Lletget said. "At the end of the day we shouldn’t let five goals in, and it could’ve potentially been seven."
The Galaxy have earned favorable results against LAFC despite conceding five goals across two matches. Despite defensive struggles that have lingered all season, Kitchen says improvement is possible.
"It’s not the back three guys, five guys, whatever formation we’re in," Kitchen said. "It’s the whole team. It’s a mindset. It’s, when we’re not on the ball we’re going to be in good positions, and we’re going to win the ball back together."