CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy have had their backs against the wall throughout the season and in Wednesday’s second leg of their Western Conference Semifinal Series with San Jose, the Galaxy must fight back yet again.
Whether it was a 3-8-2 start to the regular season or dealing with absences of major players throughout the season or advancing in a heated Knockout Round match with Vancouver Whitecaps FC, LA have overcome a number of deficits to reach the postseason. But on Wednesday, they’ll face their greatest test to date against the Supporters’ Shield winning San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium, down a goal after falling in the first leg at The Home Depot Center.
HIGHLIGHTS: LA 0, SJ 1
This season, San Jose is unbeaten at the intimate confines of Buck Shaw, compiling a 9-0-6 record while also going unbeaten against the Galaxy this season with a record of 3-0-1 in four meetings in 2012. Regardless of the statistics that are mounted against them, the Galaxy admit that they’re ready for the challenge.
“Our team has confidence and we have the character, we’ve overcome certain obstacles this season where we’ve not been playing well and we’ve had people doubt us,” said midfielder David Beckham. “If we were going to get into the playoffs and then we get into the playoffs and we don’t play as well as well as we can against San Jose. But these are the obstacles that you have to overcome as champions. We are the holders and we want to keep hold of this trophy but it’s always difficult so we’ll wait and see.”
Despite the seemingly long odds, the Galaxy face a simple task at Buck Shaw.
If LA can earn a victory by one goal, the series will be decided in extratime and potentially the drama of penalty kicks. Win by more than two goals—and LA advances to the Western Conference Championship. A loss or draw at Buck Shaw and LA’s season and their title defense will come to end.
Although Victor Bernárdez’s late game-winner in the first leg was a body blow for the Galaxy’s chances, LA affirm that nothing has changed for them.
“The reality didn’t change for us. We still had to go to San Jose and win the game whether it was 0-0 or 1-0,” said Galaxy captain Landon Donovan. Now if we win the game 1-0 what we get is extratime. If win the game by a few goals then it can get us advancement so nothing changes. Would we like to be 0-0 sure. Maybe this will help us, maybe being down a goal will create some urgency and we have to go and attack and try to get it.”
However, with the experience of an MLS Cup title under their belt, Donovan believes his team can battle back at Buck Shaw.
“We’ve got plenty guys in that locker room who know how to play down a goal. Generally speaking you’re down a goal at halftime or late in the second half and you have to come back and get a goal,” said Donovan. “This time, we get 90 minutes to get a goal, so it’s nothing that we haven’t dealt with before and nothing we can’t handle. “
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com