CARSON, Calif. – Chad Barrett is going back to where it all began on Sunday, when the LA Galaxy visit Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., to take on the Chicago Fire (noon PT, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, lagalaxy.com/gamedaylive).
The eight-year veteran, a first round pick (third overall) in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft, enjoys playing in Toyota Park. He also enjoys bantering with the fans – “They always show me a little bit of love, a little bit of hate,” he said with a grin – and expects to have plenty of friends in attendance.
“It’s always fun to go where it all started,” Barrett said Thursday.
But it hasn’t been much fun for him or the defending MLS Cup champion Galaxy (6-10-2, 20 points, sixth in the West) this season. They are on a two-game losing streak, the most recent setback a frustrating 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday at The Home Depot Center, and now take on one of the top teams in the East in the Fire (8-5-4, 28 points).
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said the latest loss was one of the team’s toughest, especially considering how they dominated the Union from the start and got no points to show for their efforts.
“It’s a difficult loss,” he said, “but there are so many encouraging things about our performance. Not walking off the field with points is extremely disappointing.
“There were so many good things out of our play. Last night on a perfect night for us, we could run away with that game by a bunch of goals.”
But the Galaxy hasn’t had many of those perfect nights this season.
Midfielder Marcelo Sarvas attributed the team’s misfortunes to the sometimes cruel nature of the game.
“We had enough chances to kill the game off, but it’s football,” he said. “If you don’t score, you get punished. I think the team is playing well; it’s small details that make the difference for us.
“Every team wants to beat us, that’s for sure. They come to play against us, and they give their best game all the time. We have to play like champions for 90 minutes, not 50 or 60 minutes. I think we still have a chance; we have enough ability to do that.”
Next up for LA are the Fire, who are unbeaten in their last four games and enter Sunday’s contest with a 5-1-2 record at home. Marco Pappa and Dominic Oduro are tied for the team lead with five goals, with Pappa tallying twice in his team’s last three games. At the other end of the field, Sean Johnson is beginning to round into form after a difficult start to the 2012 campaign. He has two consecutive clean sheets and has not allowed a goal in the last 234 minutes.
The Galaxy, however, are more concerned about what they can do to salvage a surprisingly disappointing season. You won’t catch them feeling sorry for themselves, however.
“We don’t need a self-pity party in the locker room,” Barrett said.
“If anybody wants to do that, they can do it at home or by themselves. For one reason or another we’re not sharp enough.
“I think there’s enough leadership and maturity on this team to realize a loss is a loss and a win is a win and you can’t really take it onto the next week. You have to approach each game as it comes.”