Galaxy ready to let the games begin

Season opener on the horizon as preseason draw to a close

Chad Barrett vs CAN U-23s

Photo Credit: 
Robert Mora / LA Galaxy

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy’s Chad Barrett didn’t have to be
reminded the club’s regular season opener in Seattle is only a week from Tuesday. Head
coach Bruce Arena did that for him.

Arena was quite vocal during
Monday’s training session as he criticized poor communication across the back
line, pointed out spotty passing and wasted scoring opportunities and generally
sounded a little more animated than usual.

“The anticipation is
building. You could really tell that today,” said Barrett, who came to LA from
Toronto FC in one of several notable offseason moves. “He was yelling at us
right from the get-go, from the very first pass.

“It really woke me up and I
know it woke a couple of other guys up and got training going. I like that. It
just shows you straight from the top it’s time to go.”

It’s not as if the Galaxy
have been performing badly in preseason – they have shut out four of their nine
opponents, including a 4-0 win over the Canadian U-23 National Team last Friday,
and lost just once – but time definitely is running out before the games start
to count. Arena admitted he’s getting a little anxious for the season to kick
off Tuesday, March 15 at 6:30 p.m. at Seattle’s
Qwest Field (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com) against the Western Conference
rival Sounders FC.

“I think it’s time to get on
and just play,” Arena said Monday. “There’s only so much of this (training) you
could be doing. I think we’ve had enough; we might as well get on to league
matters and win some games.”

Arena, now in his third full
season with the club, said he’s generally been pleased with the Galaxy’s
preseason progress.

“I think we’re moving
along,” he said. “I think we’re not any different than a lot of teams in the
league that have a lot of unknowns at this point. We’re starting a little bit
earlier than most of the teams, and it’s pushed us a little quicker to be
ready.

“I think we’re moving along
OK, but we’re going to find out, right?”

Landon Donovan, about to
begin his seventh season in with the club and coming off a year in which he led
MLS with a career-high 16 assists, said the Galaxy are “close” to being ready
for next week’s opener.

He also said last
Wednesday’s exhibition loss to Mexican side Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de
Caliente (4-3 on penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw in regulation)
in front of more
than 6,000 fans at the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium was excellent
preparation and let the Galaxy know where they’re still somewhat lacking –
specifically, match fitness.

“It was a really good test
for us,” he said of the defeat. “We found out for about 65 or 70 minutes we
were pretty good, then we got tired. We’re in our final stretches of getting
fitness down, and I think by Tuesday we’ll be ready.”

Donovan said he also can’t
wait for preseason to end and games that really matter to begin.

“It was fun to play under
the lights again and put the real jersey on,” he said. “Thinking about it, it’s
been over three months since we last did that, and I don’t think I’ve ever had
that long a stretch without playing a real game.

“We’re close. If we can get
closer to 90 minutes fit by Tuesday, I think we’ll be in a good shape.”

Join the Galaxy as they Countdown to Kickoff with a series of events and
appearances for fans in the community. Galaxy players, staff, Miss LA
Galaxy Court members and Galaxy Street Team will be active throughout
the week engaging with fans, the public and media in order to thank
them for their support and to raise awareness for the start of the 2011
MLS season. For the full schedule and and opportunities to meet the
Galaxy players, visit www.lagalaxy.com/caravan.

 

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LA Galaxy beat Canada’s U-23 National Team, 4-0
Galaxy fall on PKs to Club Tijuana