CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy returned to training on Thursday and began preparations for Saturday’s regular season MLS game against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC at The Home Depot Center. They also were intent on putting behind them the disappointment of Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to Monarcas Morelia in the CONCACAF Champions League. Morelia scored two goals in the last seven minutes for the stunning victory while the Galaxy’s Robbie Keane had a goal disallowed for offside in the final minute, robbing LA of at least a point from their trip down south.
For some players, the process of forgetting what happened in Michoacan, Mexico wasn’t easy. Not so, however, for head coach Bruce Arena, who insisted his team had moved on from the disappointing result.
“We don’t dwell on that stuff a whole lot. It’s over with,” he said. “The scoreline doesn’t change. Whether Robbie’s goal is good or not, it doesn’t change. It’s history now, it’s in the books, it’s 2-1, it’s done.
“Given the conditions and everything else, we came close to accomplishing what we wanted to get done. Circumstances dictated the result; some favorable, some unfavorable. We certainly had control at the end of the game that would have at least allowed us to have a point. That’s very disappointing.
“The preparation, the effort and the fact we were close to getting a result was a positive. Obviously disappointing that we didn’t.”
Michael Stephens, who played 90 minutes in the center of midfield against Morelia, admitted that while the loss still eats at him, there is no time to dwell on the result.
“Of course it still bugs me,” he said. “Any time you get late in a game [with a lead] and you don’t come out with a win, and especially losing, it doesn’t feel good. And we’re definitely going to use that to keep us motivated this weekend and throughout that competition as well.
“I’ve put it behind me. We have so much going on, we have to.”
Stephens and his teammates agreed playing Saturday against Vancouver, so soon after the Champions League setback, is the ideal method for removing any lingering frustration from the loss.
“Absolutely,” Stephens said. “Obviously we’re disappointed, but we’re still in good position in [the Champions League] and still in good position in our league. You can’t spend any time thinking back to what was.
“You have to move forward and get a result this weekend.”
Added Mike Magee, “That’s the good thing about this point in the season. There’s a lot of negatives with not getting that many breaks, but it’s also good because you’re just focusing on games and you can’t dwell too much on losses. You also can’t celebrate wins too much.
“It’s good. Vancouver is coming off a game against New York (a 1-1 tie) they feel they should have won, so we can’t underestimate them.”
Saturday’s game is a rematch of a game played at Vancouver’s Empire Field on July 30. It was scoreless at halftime before the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan scored twice and Sean Franklin and Adam Cristman each added tallies for a 4-0 Galaxy win, with all four of the goals coming in the final 30 minutes.
“That first half we did a good job of bending but not breaking,” the Galaxy’s Todd Dunivant said. “We were able to keep them out long enough to where we were able to settle the game down a little bit.
“At the end of the day it was a big win, but it wasn’t easy. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”