Michael Umana

Galaxy look to get past growing pains

The conditions for Saturday's game in Columbus were straight out of a Stephen King novel. In fact, misery would be the perfect adjective to describe what it must have felt like to be out on the field in a Los Angeles Galaxy uniform at Crew Stadium on Saturday night.

Top that off with the fact that half the Galaxy lineup had logged enough frequent flyer miles in the past week to book a trip to the moon, and you have a couple valid excuses for why Los Angeles looked so tired and disorganized in their 3-0 defeat.

Excuses aren't anything the Galaxy is hanging the loss on though. In the Galaxy camp, the finger of blame is being pointed directly at themselves.

Still, another fact is that some members are just now getting to know who the rest of their teammates are to share in the analysis.

"I don't want to sit here and make excuses, but I met Michael (Umaña) the night before," said right back Chris Albright. "I've never played with Todd (Dunivant) before on the back line."

That lack of communication on the back line led to Edson Buddle virtually being left by himself twice for point-blank goals. For Galaxy head coach Steve Sampson, that was just unacceptable.

"You have to give Columbus the credit," the Galaxy boss said. "I don't care what excuse you come up with. There was way too much experience to allow the kind of goals Columbus scored."

Growing pains are inevitable for any team with so many new players on its roster. With the season only 90 minutes old, there is plenty of time for the squad to correct its mistakes.

"We have to look at ourselves in the mirror. It was a wakeup call," said Sampson. "I'm glad it came at this point in the season."

One player not being as hard on himself or his teammates is newcomer Landon Donovan. His travel schedule between Germany, Mexico, Alabama, Los Angeles, and then finally Columbus made him so sick that he wasn't able to play in Saturday's game. In his absence, Guillermo Ramirez was forced to play up top, out of his regular position.

Ramirez too had a difficult travel schedule this past week and the exhaustion was apparent as the game went on. Donovan noticed it from the sidelines.

"Definitely it (fatigue) played a factor, especially for Pando," Donovan said. "He had to be exhausted playing three games in one week (two World Cup qualifiers before the Galaxy opener)."

There really wasn't any one factor that could be attributed to the poor showing the Galaxy made in Columbus. The defense looked disorganized, the offense seemed to lack any continuity. The only good news is the players will now have a week to get to know each other better in advance of Saturday's home opener against Real Salt Lake.

Greg Daurio is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.