CARSON, Calif. – The start of the regular season is just over two weeks away for the LA Galaxy, but there is no real sense of urgency as the two-time defending MLS Cup champions prepare to close their preseason schedule with a game Friday night against the Colorado Rapids at Harder Stadium on the campus of UC Santa Barbara.
The approach will be the same, according to head coach Bruce Arena: get fit and get ready for the start of the new MLS season on March 3 against the Chicago Fire at The Home Depot Center.
Friday’s game will mark the first time the Galaxy have gone on the road this preseason.
“Just another game to try and get a little bit better,” Arena said of the Galaxy, who are 4-1-1 during the preseason and are coming off Tuesday’s 6-2 victory over a collection of reserves from Liga MX champions Club Tijuana, a victory that was highlighted by two goals from second-year player Bryan Gaul, who was the only member of the Galaxy to go the full 90 minutes. “In the end the games don’t mean anything. They mean something starting March 3.
“If tomorrow is spectacular, great. If it’s bad, you put it past you.”
Arena said it was difficult to assess the team’s progress to this point in training camp.
“I don’t think you know that until you start playing and the regular season starts and you see how your team looks,” he said. “The preseason is just what it is, to move a team along, understand your players a little bit better, they understand you, move the fitness along and hopefully get them prepared for the start of a 34-game season in the league and the CONCACAF (Champions League) competition.”
Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee said the main concern now, just as it has been throughout training camp, is match fitness.
“The thing now is we should pretty much be fit,” he said. “This (game) is the last chance to put in good work before March 3.”
Magee said Arena likely will be looking for more precision on Friday.
“We’ve got to get sharper and get fitter,” Magee said. “Guys will play a little more minutes.
“Everything is good. We have a good group of guys and a bunch of guys who have been here for a while. There’s nothing really to worry about other than getting fit.”