Once cruising and solidly entrenched in the Western Conference's upper tier, the LA Galaxy have hit a rut, which is now threatening what initially appeared to be an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs berth lock.
A 2-0 loss at Austin FC Sunday extended the Galaxy’s winless streak to seven matches. They're fifth in the West standings, but just three points above the playoff line with eight games remaining in the regular season.
Sound those alarm bells.
“It would be helpful for this group to get a goal, to get ahead and not feel like we have to chase a game, to have the emotion of where we can protect the goal for once instead of getting behind,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said after the match. “So are there alarm bells? For sure. Everybody feels some urgency to obviously shift the momentum to get that result that we need to keep going. But as I said to them, we keep fighting.”
“We're in a position right now where we control our own destiny. We need to keep our heads up and keep fighting every game and keep pushing for the next opportunity,” Vanney said. “It just takes one win and one result to get us the momentum shifted the other way, which may even just mean one goal, get one goal, one first goal. And we may be able to shift the tide of this thing because tonight wasn't about, I thought, whether we played good or bad. It was about whether we executed or didn't in key moments of the game.”
With five points separating five teams – from the Galaxy at fifth to the San Jose Earthquakes at 10 – Jonathan dos Santos acknowledged he’s worried about his club’s current run of form, calling each upcoming game a "final."
“We need to keep working,” dos Santos said. “This is not the end of the world. We know that we are one of the best teams in the league and I think the fans of the club, of course, deserve more.”
Dos Santos wants to let Galaxy supporters know they're still working hard, even if the results haven’t corresponded. It could all turn around Wednesday at Rio Tinto Stadium against Real Salt Lake (9:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).
“I think it’s just one win and everything will change,” Dos Santos said.