Nearly everything has gone according to plan for the Los Angeles Galaxy thus far in 2010.
New England and Chivas USA were no match for the Galaxy at the Home Depot Center as the defending Western Conference champions held serve at home with a pair of shutout victories to open the season.
But now the Galaxy must try and replicate that success away from home. Arena’s squad will open its road calendar at Houston on Saturday, and the hope within the club is that everything will continue to go according to plan.
“We just build off of last year,” Galaxy defender Sean Franklin said. “In our games on the road, we were really focused and really prepared and I thought at times the team did as well or better than we did at home.”
En route to the top spot in the regular-season standings out west in 2009, the Galaxy notched just as many points away from home as the club collected at the HDC. The Galaxy finished with a 5-3-8 road record, and the 23 total points were two less than the 25 accumulated at home.
A repeat performance of last year’s road totals -- three losses, 23 points -- would suit the club well.
“Ideally I think over 15 road games if you can get 20 points you’re doing alright,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “I don’t know how that compares to other teams around the league but I would think that’s an excellent number of points to get on the road.”
Still, Arena isn’t setting a target for road points versus home points.
“We don’t look at it that way, we look at it as trying to get results when you’re away from home but more importantly trying to get results when you’re at home,” he said.
The Galaxy sit atop the conference with six points, but that doesn’t really mean a great deal this early in the season. Some teams have played just one game thus far, and others will open their home calendars this weekend.
While Saturday’s game may not have much meaning in terms of the table now, it could carry some significance down the road.
“It’s early to be looking at the standings but [Houston is] always one of the teams at the top and if we’re going to win this conference again this year we’re going to have to go through them,” defender Todd Dunivant said. “This is our only time going there so we have to take full advantage of it.”
And if the club is to do well and carry over their home form to Robertson Stadium, the team’s mindset must reflect the change in venue.
“It’s just kind of a different mentality, just more focused and less distractions than [at home] I would say,” Franklin said. “On the road, it’s strictly soccer, so I think if we just stick with coming in sharp this weekend, we’ll be fine.”