When the LA Galaxy host New York on Saturday (5 pm ET, ESPN, LIVE CHAT on lagalaxy.com), it will mark the club’s ninth regular-season match and will come nearly two months to the day after their home opener.
The dawn of the season has passed, and with every passing day the onus to improve becomes greater.
“We can't keep saying it's early,” Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said after Wednesday’s loss in Seattle. “We've gotten better, there's no question, but we have to keep improving. While we're improving, we have to start getting points.”
ESPN Preview: LA - NY
Following their 2-0 setback at CenturyLink Field, the Galaxy sit 7th in the Western Conference with 10 points on the strength of a 3-4-1 record. While three-quarters of the Galaxy's season still remain, the club must start taking advantage of its chances to climb up the table and contest for more points.
“There [are] a lot of games left and a lot of things are going to happen,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “We have to position ourselves to win some games.”
Against the Sounders, the Galaxy fielded a patchwork lineup that did not feature David Beckham, Robbie Keane or Todd Dunivant, none of whom were in Seattle for the match. Also, regular starters Mike Magee and Edson Buddle began the game on the bench.
Even so, the Galaxy were dangerous at times and gave themselves something to build on heading into their matchup against New York.
"If we were just able to keep [the ball] a little more we could have struck them out," Galaxy ‘keeper Bill Gaudette said. "Final third we did better, defensively we'll get back to work and watch the video. We obviously want to get the result in every game but [Seattle] is a tough place to play. We're excited to get back to work on Saturday night.”
With their 10 points, the Galaxy sit a full 12 points back of Western Conference frontrunners San Jose. Even with a victory over New York, the best LA could hope for after this weekend’s matches would be fifth place in the West.
A move up the standings, though, would be a major step for the club.
“Saturday is a game that's very important now and we have to get points out of it,” Donovan said. “Everybody knows that the West is a lot stronger than the East, and it will get very difficult as the year goes on, so we've got to start making our move or else we will find ourselves in a bad place.”
Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.