Bruce Arena pleased to give LA reserves a chance in regular season finale

CARSON, Calif. -- With their spot in the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs cemented, the LA Galaxy went into their regular season finale on Sunday looking to close this chapter and prepare for the postseason. LA did that with a reserve-filled lineup by playing FC Dallas to a 0-0 draw at StubHub Center. 

With FC Dallas needing only a draw to clinch the Supporters’ Shield, Sunday’s match was more of a defensive struggle than offensive showcase. There were only three shots on target from both teams in the entire match, and none in the first half.

“I think they were playing safe,” said A.J. DeLaGarza about FC Dallas. “Obviously they had to come in here and get a point, and they did that.”

Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena rotated his lineup, giving some younger and reserve players a run out while letting some of the big stars continue to heal from injury or get extra rest. Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane, Giovani dos Santos and Ashley Cole were all missing on the teamsheet.

Meanwhile, young forward Ariel Lassiter earned his second MLS start in his career, and his first ever at home. Rafael Garcia, Raul Mendiola, and Dave Romney were also inserted into the lineup in place of usual starters.

“It’s good to get Ari on the field,” Arena told reporters. “To see where he’s at, and it’s good for him to help gauge his performance as well. A number of players got an opportunity today, and I think that’s a positive.”

With the regular season concluded, Arena and the Galaxy can now shift their focus to Wednesday when they host Real Salt Lake (10:30 pm ET, UniMas, MLS LIVE) in the Knockout Round of the postseason.

"I look at is as another season,” said Galaxy defender Jelle van Damme. "You just know mentally as well, it’s money time. Our game is coming up Wednesday or Thursday and if you lose you’re out. It’s maybe just a little bit different of an approach, but for me it’s the same season. It’s all a bit more important though."