CARSON, Calif. – In a span of eight days, the LA Galaxy will face three Eastern Conference rivals at their respective places: D.C. United on Saturday (7:30 pm ET, MatchDay Live), Toronto FC on April 13 and Chicago on April 17.
While such a travel itinerary could cause the club headaches, David Beckham thinks such a trip features some positives.
“It could be a good thing,” the star midfielder said. “You get that time together as a team and you bond when you’re away for so long. That part is going to be great. I think it’s important when you bond as a team, especially so early in the season.”
Unlike England and Spain – where five- to six-hour flights within those countries are impossible – travel in MLS is something incoming Europeans aren’t quite used to. Beckham, though, said he’s adjusted to the demanding mileage the teams racks.
Still, if the team is going to have to play in far-flung places like Washington and Toronto, better to knock some of them out in one fell swoop.
[inline_node:331875]“You don’t [realize the travel involved] until you obviously play in this league, but it’s part of it," Beckham said. "The fact that we’re away for the three games, it makes it easier to do all three at the same time. It could be a good thing. We keep all of our players fit and be ready and not play like we did in Salt Lake. We’ll be all right.”
The trip doesn’t necessarily put the Galaxy at a disadvantage for any of the games, even though players won’t have much of a chance to recuperate and recover in between games.
“I think the league did a good job of balancing out the competitive balance,” Galaxy assistant coach Dave Sarachan said. “The teams we’re playing have some travel in there, too. I don’t think it’s a real one-sided thing where one team would have a real super advantage of having a lot of rest.”
D.C. United, for instance, played a US Open Cup play-in match on Wednesday, a game that went into penalty kicks. Regulars such as Josh Wolff, Joseph Ngwenya and Andy Najar played in the match. Toronto are playing on the West Coast this weekend, visiting San Jose on Saturday before returning home to play the Galaxy next Wednesday. Chicago, meanwhile, will play at Portland on April 16 and then return home to play the Galaxy three days later.
That the Galaxy are hitting the road for three consecutive games does not mean the team will be content settling for a pair of points. In fact, LA's players hope to at least match their efforts of last year, when they had nine wins and allowed just seven goals in their 15 road games.
“The good thing for us is that we have a veteran team and we’ve been very good on the road the last two years,” defender Todd Dunivant said. “We have a good mentality of going in, defending first, being difficult to break down and then countering out of that. If we can continue doing that, we’re going to be tough.”