Unfortunately for those who may be tired of the conversation, the numbers, including just one goal scored on the season, continue to make it a legitimate question: The Galaxy’s 3-1 Week 14 loss at home to the Sounders was the fourth defeat in Chicharito’s five starts. The team is 0W-4L-1D when he starts and 0W-5L-2D across his seven total appearances. The team’s record without Chicharito? 4W-1L-1D.
Coincidence? In response to a question about the cause of the team’s slow starts in recent matches, it was telling that Sebastian Lletget went where everybody else does. Unprompted. Except with a lot more nuance.
“I wish it was just like one thing where we can just fix one point and everything would just fall into place," Lletget said in his postgame session with media. "I think it’s communication. Two guys [Javier Hernandez and Jonathan Dos Santos] have been integrated into the squad now that they’re healthy. And I think getting everybody on the same page and unfortunately that takes time and we really don’t have time.”
Lletget was later asked about whether he was noting frustration in the team’s forwards:
“We’re talking about our No. 9,” he said in Spanish in reference to Chicharito. “We know he’s a very good player and he knows how to score goals. [Cristian] Pavon, too, he has incredible ability. It’s going to take time. [Chicharito] was injured for a long time and you don’t pick up the rhythm of the game just like that. So you have to give him time. But no frustration. It’s part of the game and we’re a team. It’s a problem for all of us.”
“I think to put it on specific players is wrong. I think it’s the whole group. It’s not one person or two people. It’s the whole team,” said LA defender Nick DePuy when asked about all the talk surrounding Chicharito's effect on the team. “I think it’s within the group. It’s not individually or anything like that. It’s within the group.”
Highlights: LA Galaxy 1, Seattle Sounders 3
So what does the group need to do better? The theme that came through was about the overall attitude, intensity and speed of play. Head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto sounded disappointed in his postgame comments: “We didn’t have the attitude we needed to have … we need to play better,” he said.
“Again, we start the game soft. The intensity is not right,” Lletget said. “I think that’s a huge, huge point for us. Something has to change in that sense, for sure.”
Schelotto said he was hurt that the team didn’t execute the game plan they had worked on in training to stop Seattle's Jordan Morris. Instead they gave him space in behind the defense which he promptly exploited on the first two Sounders goals.
And if the defending led to frustrations, so did the buildup in the attack, which looked slow and Schelotto knows why:
“Same thing happened against Colorado seven days ago,” Schelotto said. “Every time we got the ball, we played back, and we gave the ball to the center backs or the goalie, and we made the games very slow. That is a point we need to change, because we need to look to play face to face, one on one, give the pass forward and take some risks, and then the options [to score] will appear. When you try and try and some things happen, the options [to score] will come. But, if every time you get the ball and you play back, and that is not the idea, the game was very slow in the first half.”
"They [Sounders] were with a better attitude," Chicharito said in a postgame TV interview, agreeing with his head coach. "They want to win the game since the first second. And it’s not showing that just because they went to attack. It shows when you have the ball, when you have the personality, when you try, when you take risks."
In summary, it sounds like there’s plenty of work to do across the board in Galaxy camp. The good news for them is that they’ll have a full week of training to prepare before their next match on Saturday, October 3 in San Jose (10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+).
Their Cali Clasico rivals are coming off a dramatic win against LAFC, setting up a compelling showdown with just one point separating the Quakes and Galaxy at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
"We have a week to get ready again," Lletget said. "And we can’t just keep dropping points. We definitely know that."