CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy believe that they’ve moved on from last Saturday’s disappointing defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes, now all they have to do is prove it on the field.
No player exemplified this mindset better than center back Omar Gonzalez, who after being asked by about the team moving on from Saturday’s defeat offered a clever response.
“What game?” Gonzalez asked. The San Jose game, of course, the reporter answered. “When was that?” Gonzalez quipped.
Jokes aside, Gonzalez understands that the Galaxy defense must sharpen especially in the closing stages of games, when LA has conceded 13 goals of their 21 goals in the final 15 minutes.
“There’s little things that we need to fix. We play well for long stretches of the game, but it is those little things that are hurting us,” said Gonzalez. “Whether it’s letting guys get crosses or not marking in the box, it is just the little things that we’ve been getting punished for all year.”
“Hopefully, things will start turning our way and the bad luck will turn into good luck,” added Gonzalez. “But if a game was 80 minutes, then we’d be in first place, but unfortunately, the game is 90-plus minutes, and we’ve been falling short toward the end of games.”
Gonzalez’s provided a comprehensive description of LA’s recent struggles, but how does LA turn that around?
“It has to come from the veteran guys and myself in particular. When we’re up with the lead, stop sending guys forward—stop sending Sean [Franklin] and Todd [Dunivant] forward to get an extra goal. Maybe keep them back so we can stop any kind of attack that they start,” said Gonzalez. “Just be smarter with the way that we manage games. If we start doing that then we start being more cerebral in the way that we’re play and maybe we can start building points up.”
Gonzalez and company will need to be on point on Thursday, if they are to earn a victory against the Crew, who boast the talented forward tandem of Dominic Oduro and Frederico Higuain. Providing a mix of speed and playmaking ability, Gonzalez believes that positioning will be key.
“We’ve played against Oduro plenty and we’ve done pretty well against him. His speed is a bit of an X factor. He can get places faster than most in this league,” said Gonzalez. “I think that he’s having a very good year this year and he’s definitely one to watch and whenever you have a guy like Higuain, who is going to be serving him balls quick and putting balls over the top, it’s something that we have to look out for.
“We have to be good on our line, make sure that we drop early and keep them in front of us.”