CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will have had almost a full week of training by the time they resume the MLS regular season against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday at The Home Depot Center (7:30 p.m., NBC Sports, AM 1150, 1330 AM, LIVECHAT). They’ve had plenty of time to dissect what has gone wrong of late and rue over a number of missed opportunities.
First there was last week’s elimination from the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals by Monterrey. Then came last Saturday’s 1-0 loss at FC Dallas, a game that saw Dallas defender George John score the game-winner in the 87th minute.
If you’re thinking the team’s confidence has been shaken, don’t. This is a veteran team, Mike Magee pointed out, and the club has had plenty of experience dealing with disappointments like these.
“As a team we’ve been together long enough and gone through every up and down that we can,” he said. “We’re not worried.”
It wasn’t so much the loss to Dallas that still bothers them but the series against Monterrey, the two-time defending CONCACAF Champions League winners. The Galaxy dropped the first leg 2-1 at home in a game which featured two Monterrey goals in the final eight minutes.
“That’s the one that really bit us in the butt a little bit,” midfielder Michael Stephens said.
Monterrey was at it again a week later with Aldo de Nigris scoring the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win with less than 10 minutes remaining.
“We let ourselves down, without a doubt,” Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant said. “Losing that first game was kind of a gut punch to us. But it’s not something that’s going to ruin our season.
“I don’t think the mood of this team is really down right now. Obviously we want to right the ship a little bit, but I think you look at (Real) Salt Lake in 2011 after they lost the Champions League” – a 1-0 home loss in the deciding game to give Monterrey a 3-2 series win on aggregate – “in the fashion they did, I think that affected their entire season, and I don’t see that happening with us.”
Salt Lake finished third in the West that year and advanced to the Western Conference Championship, where they lost to the Galaxy. The Galaxy went on to beat Houston 1-0 in the final for their first of two consecutive MLS Cup championships.
Defender A.J. DeLaGarza is confident the Galaxy will bounce back, although he admitted the frustration has been palpable.
“It’s frustrating because it knocked us out of CONCACAF,” he said while also talking about the team’s recent penchant for giving up late goals. “We gave up the last two goals here (to Monterrey), we could have scored three here. In MLS, we’ve done it against Chivas, Toronto and Dallas and it has cost us.
“We have to get back to basics.”
The Galaxy are back in action Saturday at The Home Depot Center vs Sporting Kansas City. The first 17,000 fans in the gates will receive free commemorative MLS Cup championship rings! Tickets & gameday info