ATLANTA – It’s often said that change only happens after hitting an absolute low – when there’s nowhere to go but up.
For the LA Galaxy, some thought that low point might have come after last Saturday’s 4-0 home loss to Toronto FC, especially with reports emerging of a fractious locker room meeting following the defeat.
“The bounces are unfortunate but that’s not why we are losing. We are not playing well enough,” Galaxy defender Dave Romney said after Wednesday’s loss. “We aren’t defending well enough. No one is obviously playing as good as they can be right now. It’s not like ‘Oh, we are playing amazing soccer’ and it’s unlucky bounces here and there. Collectively, we all have to step up.”
That sentiment – that the team must defend better before anything else can improve – was echoed by Galaxy manager Sigi Schmid.
“You can’t attack if you can’t defend. You have to be able to defend in order to attack,” said Schmid. “You have to be able to hold on to the ball, and right now we are not doing a good job defending and we’re not holding onto the ball well enough.”
The frustration with the team’s performance isn’t just down to the defense. The Galaxy managed only one shot on target against Atlanta (which came in the opening minutes of the match) and the team has been held scoreless in five of its last seven games. Giovani dos Santos, the team’s star forward and highest-paid player, cut a frustrated figure after Wednesday’s match.
“I can make a run, but if your teammate doesn’t see you then your run doesn’t matter,” said dos Santos, who hasn’t scored in a league match since May 27 and has only six goals in 2017. “There are a couple things right now that we’re still building on. If you see last year, I remember my numbers were different. This time, I’m working harder than last year. I’m making good runs, but not getting recognition from the team.
“It’s difficult. When you don’t get shots, you can’t expect great things,” he continued. “Everyone knows what we want. Especially it’s frustrating [for me] because I know people look at me while I’m on the pitch. It’s difficult, but you have to understand the situation as a team. We just need to keep working to come back stronger next game.”