With just four days separating their first two games of the 2010 MLS season, LA Galaxy coaches and players weren’t totally on the same page.
Players admitted they weren’t sharp and had room for improvement while coaches blamed that on the situation the club was in heading into Thursday’s game against Chivas USA.
“This time of year it's real difficult for a team to play two games in a short period of time like we had to do,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said after Thursday’s SuperClásico. “We're not fit enough and our recovery is not what it needs to be.”
It seems then two shutout victories bode well for the club going forward. The Galaxy beat Chivas USA 2-0 just five days after opening the season with a 1-0 win over New England. Six points from two games is all players could ask for, but the team still has room for growth.
“We understand, we're happy with the victory tonight but we know we can be a lot better,” Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said after the Chivas win.
What could the Galaxy fix from games one and two? Some things players have pointed to from games one and two that could use improving:
- Finishing. Edson Buddle has scored all three of the Galaxy’s goals but said he should have put more away, particularly in the first game.
- Possession. “They had a little too much possession for our liking,” defender Todd Dunivant said about Chivas.
- Putting games away early. Said Dunivant: “That's one thing we can improve on, try and stamp our authority a little bit more in games and take it to them a little bit.
The Galaxy will next play at Houston, on April 10. With a full 10 days in between games, the Galaxy will have a chance to rest, recover and focus on improving as a squad while preparing for what is typically a challenging encounter against a hard-working team.
One thing the club likely won’t have to face anymore this season is having to play with tired legs. Even though the Galaxy will be on the road for the first time, the club could very well look sharper simply because their fitness will be improved.
“We had a light week to try and just recover to play this game,” Arena said. “We were still a little fatigued. Maybe later in the year it's easier to do that. [Chivas] looked like the sharper team physically and the extra day's rest is perhaps a factor in the game.”
While the Galaxy could have used more rest time in between games one and two, the results speak for themselves.
And when the rest of the league is in the same position, trying to work out the kinks from the preseason, trying to improve the finer parts of their tactics and schemes, for the Galaxy to be a step ahead of the game and having won both games is a plus.
“This early stage in the season it's all about grinding out results,” Dunivant said. “I think we just fine-tune our game and be a little bit sharper on the ball, a little bit sharper in the passing and Edson's hot right now so we just have to keep feeding him and keep finding him in spots.”