CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy understandably are feeling optimistic following last weekend’s victory over the San Jose Earthquakes. But now comes the follow-up in the form of Friday’s match against the Portland Timbers at StubHub Center (8 p.m., NBCSN). The match is followed by the Galaxy's annual 4th of July Fireworks Extravaganza.
The Galaxy prefer to be a bit more realistic in the aftermath of the win at Stanford Stadium. Head coach Bruce Arena and players called it their best team effort of the season, but they’re quick to point out plenty of room is left for improvement.
“You never know what is going to happen,” Marcelo Sarvas said.
There does seem to be a consensus that their record (5-3-5) is deceiving, perhaps even a bit unfortunate. In any event, now is the time to start improving it. They are tied for sixth in the Western Conference with the Timbers (4-5-8) with 20 points, 15 behind front-running Seattle.
Arena did admit he was hopeful for continued progress, but he also took a cautious approach.
“You watch the World Cup and teams from one game to the next look different,” he said. “You can never put a finger on what’s going to work and what won’t.
“We’re looking for a little more consistency and another good performance. But I do think we’re feeling good about the result and the way we played.”
Sarvas echoed those sentiments.
“There is no team in the world that plays every game very well,” he said. “You never know what’s going to happen in the next game. This is soccer.
“The last game was very good. Let’s see what happens in the next game.”
The Galaxy will be facing a Timbers team that is coming off a 1-0 loss at home to Sporting Kansas City but has won its last four matches on the road, including a 3-1 win over Sporting KC in the U.S. Open Cup. During that stretch of away games Portland has outscored the opposition 10-3.
The Timbers are led by a pair of Argentinians in Maximiliano Urruti and Gaston Fernandez, each of whom have six goals. Diego Valeri is tied for the league lead in assists (eight) with D.C. United’s Fabian Espindola and former Galaxy standout Donovan Ricketts is in goal for Portland.
The Galaxy’s Stefan Ishizaki said he is hopeful the Galaxy can keep improving.
“I think we have a little bit more than that,” he said, referring to last Saturday’s win over San Jose. “We know what we have to do, work really hard in every game. If we do that and keep our concentration for the whole game and not let in any easy goals we’ll be OK.
“I don’t think we’ve seen the best form from all of our players yet. I think there’s more to get out of us.”