CARSON, Calif. — Win. A simple three-letter word every athlete and sports team tries for but that can be very difficult to achieve. However, according to LA Galaxy midfielder and team captain Landon Donovan, that’s the only goal that’s been on the 2010 Supporters’ Shield-winners' agenda since preseason started.
“We’re accustomed to winning now, and the starting point is to win every time we step on the field,” said Donovan. “And we don’t see a reason why we don’t have a chance to win every game. There should be no game we go in thinking, ‘Oh, we’re not going to win this one.’ Not every team can say that.
“For us, [winning every game] is realistic. It’s not a pipe-dream,” said Donovan. “A lot of teams in this league go into the season saying, ‘If we make the playoffs, we’ll be happy,’ and that’s not where we’re at. We expect more.”
The Galaxy checked off the first box on their list when they beat the Seattle Sounders 1-0 in the regular season’s opener on Tuesday under inclement weather and a less-than-ideal wet and fast surface that resulted in a somewhat ugly display of soccer from both sides.
But if having to forego aesthetic soccer to get the three points has to be done, then done it will be.
“It was a good win [against Seattle], but certainly it wasn’t the kind of performance we would’ve liked,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “I don’t think we played that well, but we still did enough to get the three points, which is certainly in some ways more important at this time of year.”
Midfielder David Beckham said the inclement weather and wet and fast conditions on the pitch gave the Galaxy a tough time, and those conditions were, according to both Arena and Donovan, the reason why team’s passing was so inaccurate.
But the team hit the practice field seeking to correct and tweak things to improve prior to the next game, which in the Galaxy’s case, is on Sunday against the New England Revolution.
“Our passing needs to be better, our final idea in front of the goal needs to be better,” said Donovan. “We’ve done a really good job progressing passing-wise this preseason and we hope that we see that on Sunday.”
This year will be the second consecutive time that LA open their home schedule against the Revs. Last year, the Galaxy came out on top 1-0 thanks to a goal from Edson Buddle, who’s no longer with the team.
The Galaxy aren’t quite sure what to expect from New England, who went through a major roster overhaul in the offseason. Nevertheless, LA want to keep building some early momentum by getting a second straight victory, the second step in their quest to level the competition and win every trophy they play for in 2011.
“We expect to make the playoffs now and we want to win a championship," Donovan said. "I don’t think we’ve done a good enough job in the past few years of giving ourselves the best chance to win the Open Cup, we haven’t taken advantage of the opportunities to get to and win MLS Cup, and then we’ve got the Champions League this year and we want to get out of our group. That’s important to us.”
The Galaxy have lofty hopes, but an even loftier belief in themselves. The team is confident that their arduous preseason, coupled with a hot start, could pave the way for unprecedented success.
“It’s always important to get off to a good start, and we wanted to do that,” said Beckham. “We’re optimistic. There’s still a long way to go – we’re only one game in – but if we continue to play like we have done and continue to work, then we’ve got a good chance.”