CARSON, Calif. – Frustration? Yes. Surprise? Definitely. Panic? Certainly not.
It is hard to get a feel for the collective psyche of the LA Galaxy after their 1-3-0 start to the regular season, but it might not be as negative as one might think.
“I think it’s all right,” head coach Bruce Arena answered when asked to assess the team’s current mood. “One would not expect it to be perfect, but I think the guys are anxious to get back on the field and get it right.”
Rest assured, however, there is an underlying sense of urgency to stabilize the ship as soon as possible, starting with Saturday’s game against the Portland Timbers (7:30 p.m., KDOC and KWHY) at The Home Depot Center.
“We’re kind of looking at it as an opportunity to get things right,” defender Todd Dunivant said after training Tuesday. “If there’s ever a time in the season to do it, it would be now.
“It’s coming early and we have to sort out all of our issues, and we’ve got a lot of them.”
Most of them have to do with a defense that has allowed eight goals, tied with Portland and FC Dallas for the most in the Western Conference. The Galaxy also are last in the West, already 12 points behind conference-leading Real Salt Lake, but the Galaxy aren’t doing any scoreboard watching so early in the season.
Not yet, anyway.
“We’re not looking at the standings at this point,” Dunivant said.
“It’s about playing well again. Once we start playing well again and playing the way we know how to play, the results are going to start coming.
“It’s not going to be easy, though. We need to put a good performance together against Portland. That’s our goal.”
Arena attributed the team’s malaise to down periods all teams in all leagues go through.
“Things all go in cycles,” he said. “Whether you’re doing real good or real bad, there’s always little cycles with this stuff and you never know what it adds up to. You really don’t.
“Sometimes you have periods when you don’t play too well and actually you get a result and you steal one every now and then. We had a game in Columbus we won 1-0 and we were awful, absolutely awful, but we got three points. That happens once in a while. Other times you can be good and lose a game.”
Dunivant said there is no getting around the fact it has been a disappointing season to this point, from a poor start in MLS to being eliminated in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
The ongoing struggles certainly have the coaches’ and players’ attention.
“When you include the Champions League, it hasn’t been a good start in six games,” he said. “There’s certainly concern. It’s not panic, but there’s concern without a doubt.
“We know we have to play better as a team all over the field. It’s not going to be a magic fix overnight, there’s not one issue, not one player.
“In a somewhat good way, it’s everybody. We all have to play better.”
Added defender A.J. DeLaGarza, “We still have 30 games, we can go 30-0 and everyone will forget about it. Actually, that would be pretty tough,” he added with a laugh. “But it’s something we can do.
“We can do better. We know we will do better.”