LA praise team commitment amid near-flawless stretch
CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy have not been perfect during the 2011 MLS season, but over the last four games, the team has been all but flawless.
The Galaxy carry an impressive winning streak into Friday’s match against D.C. United (11 pm ET/8 pm PT; FOX Soccer). And save for an own-goal four games ago, things could not be going better for the league’s top club.
After beating New England, 1-0, on Saturday, the Galaxy ran their win streak to four, improved their league-leading points total to 29 and gave more confirmation that things are going well for the team.
“We’ve been good all year, with the exception of Salt Lake,” head coach Bruce Arena said after Saturday’s win. “And we’ve been a little bit unlucky — a penalty kick against us … against D.C. United and … a bad play at the end of the Philadelphia game, and those two plays resulted in us losing some points on the road.”
The defense is back in top form once again. A year ago, the Galaxy did not allow a goal until the fourth game of the season and had nine shutouts in the first 14 games. This year, the LA defense faltered early, surrendering four goals in a 4-1 loss at Real Salt Lake, but lately the team’s defense has been strong.
“Just as the year progresses, you’re just going to get better and better,” defender Omar Gonzalez said. “We keep on playing the same back five people and I think we’re doing a great job. Just the whole team stays committed, from the forwards to the 'keeper, and we’ve just been doing a great job. We just need to keep it up and look to get clean sheets because that’s what our job is as defenders and we love getting them.”
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The Galaxy are hoping to repeat their regular-season success from 2010 and capture their second Supporters’ Shield title in as many seasons. Sitting atop the overall standings seven points clear of the closest competitor, the team is seemingly on its way towards claiming the Shield once more. However, with 15 games gone, the club’s season is almost half done.
The Galaxy lead the league in points but also in games played with 15. Seattle have played 14 while Houston, FC Dallas and Colorado have all played 13. All the other teams have played 12 or fewer.
With more games played and more opportunities at nabbing points, LA have done just that. However, players are using that to their advantage and view it as a positive.
“When you play this many more games than teams, you have to make sure that you’re getting points and you’re getting ahead so that every time they look at the standings, it looks daunting,” team captain Landon Donovan said. “You don’t want to be near other teams when you’ve played so many more games. You want to make it so that they have to come catch us.”