CARSON, Calif. – The start of the 2012 season was always going to be complicated for the LA Galaxy.
A massive CONCACAF Champions League series against Toronto FC sandwiched around a matchup against one of the league’s top sides was enough to force the Galaxy to snap to attention.
Now that the season is underway, the challenge seems a bit more difficult. A fatigued Galaxy squad crashed in the final 18 minutes against Real Salt Lake on Saturday in a 3-1 loss, a result that forces the Galaxy to try and recuperate mentally and physically in a short amount of time.
“We’ve got a few days to recover and try to prepare ourselves for the game Wednesday because it’s a big game,” LA midfielder David Beckham said. “We need to win. We need to progress.”
Toronto FC arrived in Southern California on Sunday and could be a step ahead of the Galaxy from a physical standpoint. Galaxy manager Bruce Arena had nine players go the distance and play 90 minutes against both Toronto and RSL.
WATCH: RSL downs LA 3-1
“We were tired. You could see it in the start of the game [on Saturday], our guys didn’t have the energy we needed to have,” Arena said. “Probably could have changed half the team easily. We’ll have to make changes against Toronto.”
Of Wednesday’s starters, Juninho started on Wednesday and came off the bench on Saturday, while Andrew Boyens dressed but did not play at Home Depot Center. Chad Barrett and Michael Stephens each came on as substitutes in both matches.
While the Galaxy will have two training days leading into the Toronto FC match, those sessions may not provide the same sort of opportunities as they otherwise would, simply because of the Galaxy’s loaded schedule.
“These first few games are about recovering and getting ready to go so there’s not going to be time for practicing the next couple of weeks,” said captain Landon Donovan. “We need to get through these games, get as many good results as we can and then we have time to rest and recover.”
On Sunday the Galaxy host DC United, the club’s fourth competitive match in 12 days. While that game will likely provide challenges of its own, the Galaxy’s focus and attention is squarely on Toronto FC, and whether the players are recharged enough to take on the challenge remains to be seen.
“We’ll just have to see how we all feel by the time the game comes, and then it will be down to the manager,” Beckham said.