CHESTER, Pa. – Mired in a two-game losing streak, the LA Galaxy head into Wednesday night’s midweek battle with the Philadelphia Union knowing that there is just one cure for the malaise that currently surrounds the club.
Back-to-back wins over Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake last month put the Galaxy on a high, only for the club to struggle in consecutive defeats to Houston and Vancouver to open the month of May. As a result of the losses, the Galaxy have fallen 10 points behind first place FC Dallas in the Western Conference and are in danger of losing three straight for the first time in nearly a year. To now reverse that trend, the Galaxy will need to get back to old fashioned hard work.
“We have to match their energy,” Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee said. “They’re a team with good energy and we tend to be too. We’re a team that tends to fight and battle and never lack effort but the last few games, for whatever reasons, we’ve let ourselves down in that aspect. If the rest of us pick it up and do our work off the ball and support each other, battle and fight, then the soccer is always pretty good.”
While Magee and Philadelphia’s Jack McInerney may find themselves at the top of the MLS goal scoring charts with six and seven goals respectively, it is another star striker whose return could provide the biggest benefit for the defending champions. Robbie Keane trained with the club at the end of last week but did not dress for the loss to the Whitecaps. He rejoined his teammates in Philadelphia on Sunday and has declared himself fit, ready and excited to get back on the field.
“I’ve been out for a few weeks so it’s nice to be back,” said Keane who has missed five of his team’s last six league games after picking up an ankle injury in late March while playing with the Irish national team. “I feel good. I’m not going to be match fit, I’ve missed three or four weeks, but I did fitness with the trainers so I feel good now and just ready to go. It’s been a frustrating few weeks for me but I’m back now.”
The return of Keane, who has scored twice in seven games in all competitions for LA this season, gives head coach Bruce Arena yet another option up front to go along with Landon Donovan, Magee, Charlie Rugg, Jose Villarreal and Gyasi Zardes. Those six forwards have combined for 13 of LA’s 18 goals in all competitions this season. STATS
Also nearing a return to the field is left back Todd Dunivant, who like Keane, was held out of the loss to Vancouver before training fully with the team this week. While Greg Cochrane has, in large, shown well over the past three games while filling in for Dunivant, the rookie was consistently targeted on Saturday night by the Whitecaps, who got each of their first two goals from right winger Russell Teibert. Now as he gets closer to full fitness, Dunivant is eager to return to the lineup and do his part to help the Galaxy get back to their winning ways.
INSIDER: Dunivant expects to be available
“We’ve had two losses in a row and we want to right the ship a little bit,” Dunivant said after training on Tuesday. “It’s an important game. We’ve got a three-game roadstand that we didn’t start off well.
“I think that defensively we’ve played pretty well but we’ve broken down at important moments. That’s stuff that we did too much last year and it’s a sign of a team that is a little too lax and we need to be mentally strong for 90 minutes and make sure that throughout the entire game we’re clued in.”