"We’re not playing as a team": LA Galaxy defender Derrick Williams demands more

Life after the June international break has largely been unkind to the LA Galaxy, as they’re 1W-4L-1D in league play and crashed out of the US Open Cup quarterfinals to USL Championship side Sacramento Republic FC.

Their latest setback arrived Saturday night at the Colorado Rapids, a 2-0 loss that left center back Derrick Williams voicing some visible frustrations during a postgame interview on Spectrum SportsNet, LA’s local broadcast partner.

Namely, the 29-year-old Republic of Ireland international pointed to what he perceives as a disconnect between team aims and personal goals in certain moments.

“We’re not playing as a team. There’s a lot of people playing as individuals,” said Williams, who arrived last year from EFL Championship side Blackburn Rovers. “The manager gives us clear instructions and there’s times where people don’t want to do that. It’s frustrating.

“I feel for the staff because they put so much work in and then when it comes to the game, some people just have their own agendas. It’s frustrating and we can’t just keep going on like this because it’s not good enough and we’re sick of losing. It’s just not good enough.”

LA ended the first half of Week 21’s games in seventh place in the Western Conference table, though could slide out of the Audi MLS Cup Playoff places depending on how Sunday’s result between the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps FC goes (10:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).

Fourteen games remain in the Galaxy’s 2022 regular season, and the prospect of another missed postseason will vex those around the club. LA have made the playoffs just once from 2017-21 (reached the 2019 Western Conference Semifinals), memorably sliding beneath the line on Decision Day a year ago.

Williams didn’t address the postseason outlook for the five-time MLS Cup champions, but it’s clear he thinks a quick remedy is needed.

“For me, it’s just focusing every day and every minute when you’re on that pitch and just making sure you’re giving your all, 100 percent,” Williams said. “And you’re not cheating the game, that’s the main thing. You do your job that’s being asked of you. That’s all you can ask for. Once you do that, sometimes things don’t go your way. You hold your hands up and at least you’re honest with yourself – you know you put your all out there. But we’re not doing that lately.”

For his part, veteran midfielder Sacha Kljestan expressed postgame that Williams’ comments need some nuance and context to truly be understood.

“I just think that we all need to be on the same page when we are doing something tactically,” Kljestan said after Colorado snapped their six-game winless streak behind goals from forwards Diego Rubio and Gyasi Zardes. “And so that’s most important in MLS, is that all 11 guys on the field are committed to the exact same goal with the exact same ideas. And if one guy takes a break or takes a moment off, then the dominoes start to fall, and the game becomes difficult.

“So, I think it is all about us committing to each other and committing to the common goal, and we have to do that by sticking together. And like I said, trying to build a confidence up in our group again.”

LA return to action next Sunday when hosting Atlanta United (9:30 pm ET | FS1, FOX Deportes). They’ll be looking to get striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Mark Delgado back after health and safety protocols have kept them sidelined.