CARSON, Calif. – The way Landon Donovan sees it, the LA Galaxy didn’t wake up from their early season funk with last weekend’s win over the Portland Timbers.
That moment actually came a week earlier, when the Galaxy lost on the road to Sporting Kansas City by a narrow 1-0 margin.
“We played a team that’s now 7-0, played them at home and played okay against them, didn’t give up too many chances and had a chance to tie the game at the end,” Donovan said. “That’s where we started to feel better.”
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Whether or not the Galaxy continue feeling that way, however, depends on what they do on the road against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday (9 pm ET, watch LIVE online). The Galaxy have not won two consecutive games yet this season and last week avoided a rare three-game slide. It won’t get any easier against the Rapids.
“The only way we’ll turn the corner is if we continue to work hard like we’ve been doing and play hard like we’ve been doing,” Galaxy midfielder David Beckham said, “because we hadn’t done that all season.”
Even though the Galaxy’s firepower has been a constant threat and presence over the past several seasons, what has made the club so successful is a strong defensive foundation. That part has been slow in coming this season, but Donovan said the team is still figuring it out.
“We’re getting back to having the mentality that we’ve had over the past few years, defending properly – that’s just an attitude,” he said. “When we do those things, we don’t have to worry about the offensive part too much. We know guys want the ball, guys are talented enough to make plays, but we have to do all the little things right along the way to be successful.”
The Rapids, meanwhile, carry a two-game losing streak into the match under new head coach Oscar Pareja, and currently sit three points ahead of the Galaxy in the Western Conference standings.
And even though the Rapids have won just one of the past four meetings against LA dating back to 2010, Donovan knows the Galaxy need to get in gear soon or risk the potential of a sticky summer spent trudging up the playoff table.
“The league now is tougher than it’s ever been and it’s going to keep getting tougher. There’s more money available, teams are getting better so we can’t just keep sort of hanging around the bottom and say we’ll make our push later,” Donovan said. “We’ve got to do it because next thing you know you’re not in the playoffs and then there’s real problems.”
Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.