LA Galaxy "peaking at the right time" as defense finds rhythm on winning streak

SANDY, Utah – The LA Galaxy are back in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, clinching their spot with Wednesday night’s 2-1 road win over Real Salt Lake.

The victory is their third in a row, and their first win on the road since June. With their first major goal for the season accomplished, the Galaxy believe they’re peaking at the right time.

“The big challenge this year was to get to the playoffs after two years without. Today we got it,” LA head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto said. “Now the expectations and the dreams are coming. We’ll come to fight and we’ll work very hard to give the best for the club.”

Traditionally postseason qualification is just the start for the Galaxy, who missed out on the playoffs in stunning fashion on the final day of the 2018 regular season — their second year in a row missing the postseason — and underwent many changes over the winter. But a large chunk of this team hasn’t experienced them in MLS before.

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“2016 feels like a lifetime ago,” defender Dave Romney said. “To get that chance again is going to be such a good thing.”

With two games to go, they’re ready to fight for every point remaining, keen to climb up the table and secure a better spot in the bracket for the postseason’s new single-elimination matchups. The Galaxy host Vancouver on Sunday (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, TSN4 in Canada) before visiting Houston on Decision Day.

“We want to give our fans one good last show in the regular season [on Sunday], get another three points and see how far we can move up this table,” defender Daniel Steres said. “We’re going to try to get as far up there as possible.”

Optimism is high, given their three-game win streak, their remaining schedule and most importantly, how well they’re playing.

“The season has had a lot of ups and downs, we know what it means to lose and we know what it means to win,” LA midfielder Servando Carrasco said. “We continue to grow. We continue to mature. Right now, I think we’re peaking at the right time.”

That can primarily be attributed to consistency: The back line held RSL scoreless until the dying minutes and the attack has scored 11 goals over the past three games. It could make the Galaxy a tough out come playoffs.

“When we play with confidence we’re very dangerous. When we’re solid in the back like we were today, we’re very hard to beat. When we can combine those two things, we’re a very hard team to beat,” Carrasco said.

“The team is playing with confidence, you saw that today,” he added. “In order to make a deep run in the playoffs, we need our back line to play well.”

Given their wealth of attacking talent, the Galaxy defense has had a little more breathing room to find its groove, and with that combination they feel they can beat anyone.

“Those are good players we have going forward,” Steres said of his team’s front line. “It’s a scary three going at you, even if we don’t get other guys up there. I’ll take those guys against most defenders in the league.”