CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy understandably were satisfied with their 2-1 victory over Chivas USA on Sunday at The Home Depot Center and regarded it as another important step in their drive to the Supporters' Shield and home-field advantage throughout the upcoming MLS playoffs.
The celebration, however, may have been tempered a bit because of a quick turnaround highlighted by Thursday’s game in Philadelphia against the expansion Union.
If the Galaxy had been considering savoring another SuperClasico victory, there is no time for that.
“It’ll be tough,” head coach Bruce Arena said about preparations that included Monday’s light session and then heading to Philadelphia on Tuesday. “It’s probably not a well-planned schedule in that sense, having a team play Sunday night then travel cross-country for a Thursday game, but it is what it is.
“The light at the end of the tunnel is we have about eight, nine days off until our next game.”
The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan said the coaches and players actually had been preparing for this short week several days ago.
“I think we had all in mind last week that these were two games that were going to come fast,” he said. “We wanted to sort of prepare for both. The first one is now out of the way, and we’re in today to get a little treatment, then we travel tomorrow.
“So it’s going to come fast.”
Donovan said there are two main challenges in playing games so closely together.
“Obviously physically you have to get yourself back quickly, and with travel that makes it difficult,” he said. “And especially after an emotional game, an exciting game against Chivas, it’s how you get yourself going. But fortunately we’re playing in Philly that has a great stadium and a great fan base from what we hear.
“I think we’ll be up for it.”
Donovan said the Galaxy must avoid falling into the trap it barely avoided just under a month ago, when they played an emotional game against the Columbus Crew— a 3-1 victory— on Sept. 11 and seven days later faced cellar-dwelling D.C. United, who gave the Galaxy all kinds of problems before Los Angeles rallied behind two late Donovan goals for a 2-1 victory.
Donovan said he thinks the Galaxy will be ready to go for the Union, especially with the race for the Supporters' Shield heading down to the final three games of the season. The Galaxy (16-6-5) have 53 points and are followed by Real Salt Lake (14-4-9) with 51, FC Dallas (12-2-13) with 49 and New York (14-8-5) with 47.
“I think we realize now with how close Salt Lake are that we have to keep going,” Donovan said. “There’s only three games left, so we know Salt Lake have a difficult schedule. We’ve got three very good games coming up. If we can continue to build an advantage, that’s what we’re hoping for.
“Everybody feels good about what happened (Sunday).”
Thursday’s game will be the Galaxy’s first game outside of The Home Depot Center since Sept. 4 at Chicago, a 1-1 tie, and Donovan is looking forward to the trip.
“It’s good to get on the road again,” he said. “We’ve been home for a month now … it’s kind of exciting to get out on the road, hang out with the guys in the airport and on the plane. That’ll be fun.
“It’s good to go a new environment and play an exciting game. It’s always fun to play in a new place and a new facility. It’s exciting for us because the league is growing and getting better and better.
“Everybody has said the stadium in Philly is great. The stadium in New York was fantastic, and hopefully it’s another good night for us.”