CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy haven't stringed wins together since the end of April, and, at least officially, they're coming off another U.S. Open Cup exit. Their perspective is that they're on a bit of a roll.
Last weekend's 4-0 dismantling of Seattle has plenty to do with that, but they also scored four goals in their victory over Philadelphia a week and a half earlier and believed they didn't get what they deserved in the loss at New York that followed.
As they head into Sunday's game at New England, the Galaxy's primary objective is to build on these three performances and start challenging FC Dallas at the top of the Western Conference standings.
“We need to keep pushing,” said Landon Donovan, who could be featured up top against the Revolution with Robbie Keane away with Ireland's national team. “We're in a relatively good spot in the standings, but we need to keep pushing. We don't feel like there's a game we go into that we shouldn't win. And this is the same. New England are playing well, Jay [Heaps] has them going pretty well right now, but this is a game we go in and we expect to win the game.”
The Galaxy is 6-4-2 for 20 points, sitting in fourth place, just two points behind second-place Portland and one in back of Real Salt Lake but seven off Dallas' pace, achieved with one more game than LA has played. It's a big improvement on 2012 -- they were 3-8-2 and in the Western cellar at this point last year -- but the standard demands more, and the kind of dizzying performance displayed against the Sounders always is the aim.
“If you look at the best picture, you should go from there up,” said Brazilian midfielder Marcelo Sarvas, arguably LA's most consistently good player this season. “You cannot go back from this level. But everybody knows that soccer is different every day, ever game. But [last week's win] is good to give confidence to the team, and you go [to Foxboro] believing that you can do a good job there.”
The Galaxy on Monday sent most of the team to North Carolina for the Open Cup loss Wednesday to the Carolina RailHawks. Keane, Omar Gonzalez and U.S. U-20 defender Oscar Sorto are away on international duty, Todd Dunivant and Jack McBean are dealing with injuries, and the other half-dozen veterans -- Donovan, Sarvas, Carlo Cudicini, A.J. DeLaGarza, Sean Franklin and Juninho -- immersed themselves in short-sided, fitness-heavy sessions all week at The Home Depot Center. The team was to reunite Friday in Massachusetts.
“We're starting to play better,” Donovan said. “I think we played pretty well in part of the Philly game, we played a good game against New York, we played, I think, our best game of the season against Seattle, so we're just excited to get back on the field.”
It's important to stay even-tempered, DeLaGarza said.
“We lost to New York in the last minute, we can't get too low,” the center back said. “We can't get too high after beating Seattle, 4-0. We've got to find a happy medium where we're still able to perform like we're supposed to.”