CARSON, Calif. – The start to the LA Galaxy's year was never going to be ideal.
LA played four matches in the first 12 days of their 2012 season: a home-and-away CONCACAF Champions League series against Toronto FC and league games against Real Salt Lake and D.C. United.
But with that brutal stretch now out of the way, the Galaxy can now reap the rewards of a 3-1 victory over the Black-and-Red on Sunday: rest.
"It's tough way to start the year, now we get a little reprieve to catch our breath a little," Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said after the win over D.C.
The Galaxy won’t play their next match until March 31, a home game against the New England Revolution.
"The two-week break that we have now is big for the whole team, to be honest," Galaxy midfielder David Beckham said. "It's been a tough 10 days, two weeks and the last few games that we've had, so it'll be good to be a break."
The time spent on the field in the first two weeks of the season was not the only problem. Donovan and striker Robbie Keane spent much of the preseason on loan stints in England, and with such short breaks between games in the first two weeks, LA struggled to find time to put in training sessions that might have gotten the squad on the same page.
“First and foremost, [our goal] is to rest and then second is to get on the field on work on things,” Donovan said. “You kind underestimate that part of it, I know we're all pros and there is a lot of experience here, but there are a few guys who have never played together and we need that chance to start gelling.”
While players have had no chance to properly rest, tired legs have not quite reared their ugly head despite the lack of lineup changes – eight players have started all four games of the year.
“The only game that we've had where there was a fatigue issue was the [league] opener against Salt Lake,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “I would tell you this: We weren't going to open the season and not present our players to our fans. The scheduling is what it is, but our fans deserved to see our players, and they were going to play in that game. That was the game where the fatigue was the most issue.
"The next two games we had three days' rest and we were at home, so there was no reason to believe we had to make changes.”
Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.