CARSON, Calif. — After the LA Galaxy’s 3-0 demolition at the hands of Portland on Wednesday, what could help the club recover is to truly assess what went wrong in the match and try to correct those things in training.
With just two days in between their next match, though, there is no time for that.
“We don’t want to harp on it, but there were some things that got exposed,” Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said on Friday, "so when we get time, we’ll look at them — but for now, the focus has to be on Dallas. There’s no point in worrying about Portland.”
The Galaxy will have a tough challenge in trying to recover from just their first loss since May 1. FC Dallas — who bested the Galaxy 2-1 in May — will tie LA atop the Western Conference standings with a victory at the Home Depot Center on Saturday (10:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
The Portland match ended the Galaxy’s stellar 14-match unbeaten streak but players are hoping the streak’s end will be a good thing for the team.
“Let’s hope it is, because obviously we hadn’t lost for quite a while,” Galaxy midfielder David Beckham said. “A lot of people were talking about it so there was a certain amount of pressure that came with that. Hopefully it’s a kick up the backside for us and it kicks us back into the way we have been playing this season.”
Facing a tough FC Dallas side following one of the club’s worst performances of the season may be a challenge. FCD are close to the Galaxy, sitting on 42 points with a game in hand. With 45 points, LA’s Western Conference lead has been whittled down to within striking distance for Schellas Hyndman's crew.
“Collectively, they’re very strong," Beckham said. "Their defense is strong and obviously their goalkeeper is good. They’ve got some quick players. It’s nothing we haven’t come up against before, but it’s going to be a tough game."
Dallas have been strong in defense this season, yielding 21 goals and boasting a plus-nine goal differential. With talents like George John and Ugo Ihemelu leading the team in the back, opponents typically have a tough go at it against FCD.
“They’ve certainly established themselves on the defensive end of the field," said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. "Their back line plays together basically each and every game which is part of the reason they’ve been so good back there. That always helps.”
Still, perhaps FC Dallas’ biggest weapon this season thus far has been Brek Shea, who is enjoying his finest MLS season to date and has been rewarded with a recall to the US national team for next week's Mexico friendly. Shea has scored a team-high nine goals for Dallas and has helped the team overcome the loss of playmaker and reining league MVP David Ferreira.
“He’s got youthful energy and he’s kind of given free reign to do whatever it is he needs to do,” Donovan said of the tall Texan. “You can tell he’s talented. You can tell he’s motivated. I think his call-up next week is fully deserved. He’s just relentless. He just epitomizes what their team has been about this year.”
Still, players may not be analyzing Wednesday’s loss but there is perhaps one lesson the team learned in Portland that could translate over into this match.
“We just went out there and expected it to be an easy victory for us, but they never are,” Beckham said. “We can’t go onto a field and expect to win just because of who we are and what franchise we play for.”