CARSON, Calif. – Defense has been the Los Angeles Galaxy’s calling card during the 2010 MLS season.
But defense did not carry the day on Saturday. It was the club’s ability to pressure and put away their chances that led the Galaxy to an overwhelming and ultimately comfortable 4-1 victory.
“We pride ourselves on being a very solid, well-organized defensive team first and we take our chances when they come,” Galaxy midfielder Chris Klein said. “In the Houston game we knew they were coming off a few games and they were a bit tired, so there was an opportunity to press them and to really put the game away and I think we were effective in doing that.”
The Galaxy improved to 10-0-2 with the win, and padded their offensive statistics in the process. Jovan Kirovski and Tristan Bowen became the second and third Galaxy players respectively to hit for more than one goal on the season. Kirovski had a brace in the match and now has three goals, while Bowen has now scored in two consecutive league matches.
Still, even Klein said the formula might not be one to follow every time out.
“That’s not the way we’re going to play every game,” Klein said, “but it’s what worked last Saturday.”
The Galaxy will travel to Real Salt Lake on Wednesday and, like Houston, will face a team in search of vengeance for having already lost to the Galaxy once this season.
Real Salt Lake are one of the few clubs to have had a bit of success against the Galaxy’s defense. Kyle Beckerman scored the first goal against the Galaxy during the 2010 season, when he found the back of the net during the teams’ April 17 matchup.
Edson Buddle, however, scored twice to give the Galaxy a 2-1 victory.
“They also had a couple games last week and had to travel so that kind of negates that aspect of it,” Klein said of RSL’s potential home-field edge. “The bigger problem is the quality they have on their team. Since the beginning of the year we felt that they were a very strong and obviously carried over from what they did last year. There have been a few teams that have separated themselves from the pack, and Salt Lake is one of them.”
True to their defensive mindset, the Galaxy’s defense has been stellar away from home. In six road games, the Galaxy have compiled a near-immaculate 5-0-1 record and have allowed zero goals thus far.
Klein said the Galaxy’s philosophy should be the same once the club hits the field at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“It’s not only this game, but it’s when we go on the road. We have a defensive mentality first and you take your breaks when you can get them,” Klein said. “Against Salt Lake we are going to have be very disciplined because they are a team that likes to pass and move all over the place. They have quality players in almost every position on the field and they present a lot of challenges.”