CARSON, Calif. – The past week has been a difficult one for the LA Galaxy as their CONCACAF Champions League campaign ended against C.F. Monterrey and they suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat to FC Dallas days later.
But as the Galaxy turn their focus to a bid at an unprecedented third consecutive MLS Cup, the entire squad is keenly aware that they have one glaring weakness that must be corrected—conceding late goals.
Highlights: FC Dallas 1, LA Galaxy 0
LA have allowed eight goals in all competitions in 2013 and seven of those have come in the game’s final 15 minutes. Aside from Elias Aguilar’s 85th minute goal in LA’s 4-1 CCL quarterfinal second leg victory over C.S. Herediano, each of the goals have cost LA points, turning wins into draws and draws into defeats.
“We always play pretty solid for the first 80 minutes and then we have one mental lapse and get punished for it,” said defender Greg Cochrane. “A lot of times, we just have to, almost, just keep the play in front of us and not let it get behind us and hopefully, it will eliminate giving up the late goals.”
This has been evident during the Galaxy’s recent three-game losing streak. LA saw a 1-0 lead turn into a 2-1 defeat to Monterrey in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal due to an 82nd minute equalizer from Humberto Suazo and a 90th minute winner from Aldo De Nigris. A week later, the Galaxy conceded an 82nd minute strike from De Nigris to seal a 1-0 defeat in the CCL second leg before an 87th minute goal by FC Dallas defender George John led to yet another 1-0 defeat.
Each of those three games ended in defeat, but in each of the losses, LA had plenty of success and even dominated for wide stretches of the game. As for how the Galaxy remedy this problem, forward Landon Donovan believes that the issue will come down to one simple factor.
“Just concentration,” Donovan said. “[The result against FC Dallas last Saturday] is a little bit false because the guys are torn up. We’ve had a tough week and we played a team that’s been sitting around waiting for us all week. We’ve got to be better; [the George John goal was] a crucial moment where quite a few guys turned off and it made us bad.”
The Galaxy will look to remedy this problem this weekend against a high-powered Sporting Kansas City side that is unbeaten in their last four games. If the Galaxy can avoid any lapses, then they’ll be able to accomplish their first objective prior to every game: keeping the ball out of the back of the net.
“We have got to get back to getting shutouts,” said defender A.J. DeLaGarza. “It’s unacceptable. We know that. We have to get back to getting shutouts.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com.