CARSON, Calif. – We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again.
That seemed to be the line of thinking for the two-time defending champion LA Galaxy as they try to recover from another stunning loss, the latest one a 2-1 defeat in Portland, Ore., last Saturday in which the Timbers scored the game-winner in second half stoppage time – the eighth time the Galaxy have allowed a stoppage time goal this season.
“I know we have the players and the character to always be able to bounce back from anything,” center back Omar Gonzalez said after training Tuesday. “We’ve done it time and time again.”
There was, for example, a 1-0 loss in New York on May 19 when the Red Bulls scored a late game-winner. What did the Galaxy do? They came back seven days later with a 4-0 rout of the Seattle Sounders.
It was less than three weeks ago when the Galaxy were stunned in San Jose on two late Earthquakes goals in a 3-2 loss. The Galaxy promptly went on a two-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew and a 2-0 decision over FC Dallas.
Here they are again, trying to recover from another dispiriting setback and about to face a Vancouver side that sits two points ahead of LA in the Western Conference standings. The consensus among coaches and players is they will be fine.
“We had a tough year last year and came back,” said midfielder Hector Jimenez, referring to a 2012 season that featured a 3-8-2 start in league play but ended with the club’s second consecutive MLS Cup championship. “We’ll bounce back and get on track.”
Added head coach Bruce Arena, “They’ll bounce back. I certainly feel for them because they played pretty well in Portland and deserved at least a point there. We got punished for mistakes and that’s that.”
The latest example occurred Saturday at JELD-WEN Field in Portland, where Andrew Jean-Baptiste converted a corner kick from Diego Valeri to complete the Timbers’ comeback from a 1-0 first half deficit. Galaxy players watched a replay of the game’s final 15 minutes on Tuesday before training, and Arena reminded them they have allowed a stunning 15 goals in the last 15 minutes of matches this season.
“That’s not the way a champion plays,” said midfielder Colin Clark, who played the final 20 minutes in place of Robbie Rogers on Saturday. “That was tough, but we’re a good team with a lot of depth and we have a chance to take a step in the right direction against Vancouver.”
Defender Todd Dunivant said he had no doubt that will happen. He said he’s never questioned the club’s ability to go into recovery mode.
“I don’t question this team’s character or mettle one bit,” he said. “One thing we’ve shown is we bounce back from these situations. We did it after the San Jose game with two good wins. That has to be our response again.
“It’s a group that knows how to respond and it’s done that time and time again.”