CARSON, Calif. – The dust has all but settled on the LA Galaxy’s preseason. While there are a few more training sessions to be held before Tuesday’s season opener at Seattle, the defending Supporters' Shield winners put an end to their preseason friendly slate on Wednesday.
Though Bruce Arena has yet to finalize a starting lineup and some players are nursing minor knocks, the team is set to hit the turf running against the Sounders.
“As far as the way we move, the way we’re passing, the way we’re defending, we’re there,” Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said Wednesday. “We just need to get a little fitter and that’s going to take a little bit longer. You need a real game of 90 minutes before you can get that final piece of fitness.”
The Galaxy beat UCLA 2-1 on Wednesday with goals coming from two likely starters, Juninho in the first half and Donovan in the second. LA dominated the first half and aside from Juninho’s goal, the club saw two shots hit the woodwork. The Bruins regained some momentum, pulled a goal back and threatened to equalize, but the Galaxy held their ground.
WATCH: Postgame reaction from Bruce Arena, Omar Gonzalez and Landon Donovan
With the season coming closer with each passing day, the Galaxy sent out what may be the starting forward duo as Juan Pablo Angel and Chad Barrett paired up top.
Against Club Tijuana in San Diego on March 2, the Galaxy started in a 4-5-1 formation with Ángel alone up top and Paolo Cardozo in the midfield alongside Donovan, Juninho, Chris Birchall and David Beckham.
With the two-forward formation, the Galaxy held the ball more, controlled possession more and created more opportunities than they did with one forward against the Mexican second-division side.
Still, the possible starting tandem of Ángel-Barrett has not been fully developed in the preseason.
“We’re working on it,” Ángel said. “It takes time to build a partnership. Hopefully, throughout the year, we’ll get to find that understanding. [Barrett]’s a strong guy. He’s a handful and he can score goals and he can run forever. It’s about mixing it up and making sure we offer our best abilities to the team so they can benefit from it.”
Success in 2011 could be determined by how well Ángel works with not just Barrett but with other teammates as well, Donovan and Beckham in particular. Ángel had the entire preseason to try and connect with Donovan and a few weeks to try and get in synch with Beckham, but the former Red Bulls standout said it’s not just about how the trio of Designated Players functions that will determine success.
“They’re quality players," he said. "In order for them to get to offer us their individual ability, we’re going to try and play together as a team and that’s what we’re trying to do. It’s important that as a unit we play well so we get those individuals to do what they’re good at.”
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.
Take your photo with the 2010 Supporters' Shield and 2009 Western Conference Championship Trophy on Tuesday, March 15 at Ye Olde King's Head before your LA Galaxy face the Seattle Sounders in MLS First Kick 2011 at 6:30 p.m. PT on ESPN/Deportes. Plus, opportunities to win tickets to the Galaxy home opener as well as an autographed jersey! MORE INFO
On Sunday, March 20, the Galaxy will host the New England Revolution in their home opener, presented by Pechanga Resort & Casino, at 5 p.m. at The Home Depot Center. The first 15,000 fans will receive 2011 magnet schedules. Tickets are available for that match, starting at $25. BUY NOW