CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy believe the “soccer gods” are looking out for them. Now they need to take care of a few things themselves.
The magnitude of last weekend's debacle at New England still weighs on the Galaxy, which hopes to assimilate the lessons imparted by the 5-0 disaster and claim a third successive victory in Utah when they take on Real Salt Lake on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium (9:30 pm ET, watch on MLS Live).
They were happy with their performance for most of Sunday afternoon, then conceded three goals from the 87th minute into stoppage time and sustained a loss equal to the worst in club history.
Landon Donovan called the late flurry of goals “unacceptable,” that “that happens to other teams in this league from time to time, but that hasn't happened to us.” He said that “the lesson is we have to have better integrity and pride.”
Have they gotten past the defeat? Depends whom you ask.
“No, no. I don't think it's like this,” said midfielder Marcelo Sarvas, the Galaxy's best player in Foxborough. “Every player has a different reaction. For me, everything's a little bit fresh, still fresh in my mind. And 5-0 is not like 1-0 or 2-0. It's a lot of things you have to make better.”
“Well, there's so many things ...,” he continued. “If you're losing 3-0, you have to know it's not the same, losing 3-0 and 5-0. Bruce [Arena] already spoke with us, and we're going to the right way again. It's up and down. This season for us is up and down, every game, so let's see what's coming next.”
LA have been woefully inconsistent all year, more so when missing key players – and Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez were (and remain) away on international duty, while Todd Dunivant continues to grapple with a leg injury. A week before their 5-0 loss, the Galaxy were runaway 4-0 winners over Seattle, their best performance of the campaign.
“We've been very inconsistent,” goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini told MLSsoccer.com. “I don't know, hopefully, the more we play, the more that consistency will come up. Everyone wants to do well, and although I think we are improved [from] last year's start, we still need to do better.”
The Galaxy have lost badly before. Arena on Thursday recalled last August's 4-0 defeat at Seattle. Two years ago, it was a 4-1 loss at RSL that wasn't nearly as close as the score suggests.
“It doesn't really matter if it was 1-0 or 5-0,” Arena said. “I think the score doesn't matter as much as the things we did right and did wrong.”
When the Galaxy sat down to watch video of the game this week, to better see what went right and what went wrong, the computer's battery ran out just before New England's third goal, while it was still a game.
“Everyone was ecstatic,” midfielder Robbie Rogers said. “The soccer gods were watching over us.”
Cudicini says he's put last weekend behind him.
“In football, if you think too much about what you did, you don't go forward," he said. "It's gone, it's in the past, and everyone is looking forward [to RSL] to improve and possibly get the three points so to forget as soon as you can the loss.”