LA Galaxy say improved defensive shape key to defeating Sporting Kansas City | INSIDER

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy have put their humiliating 5-2 defeat to the Portland Timbers behind them, but the team is eager to apply the lessons learned in that match to Sunday's regular season finale against Sporting Kansas City. 

Too often during last weekend's defeat to the Portland Timbers the Galaxy were caught flat-footed in defense and unable to account for a speedy Portland attack.With the midfield and defense stretched out position, the Timbers were able to find the back of the net five times -- the highest number of goals LA had conceded at home since 2009. 

There's little margin for error on Sunday as the Galaxy head to Kansas aiming to lock down the second seed in the Western Conference with a win. For LA to achieve that goal, however, the defense must improve. 

"Some guys are making mistakes. Without me making an advertisement or printing posters some guys individually have made some bad mistakes that cost us goals," said Bruce Arena. "Everything can be better. whether you want to describe it as shape or whatever, everything can be better when the other team has the ball."

Defensive struggles have come to define the Galaxy over the last few weeks. Whether it was the showing against Portland or late goals conceded against Seattle Sounders or Comunicaciones, the typically stout defense has looked like a shell of its former self. 

As for the reason for this malaise, defender Omar Gonzalez chalked it up to a variety of factors that he believes will be rectified by the time the whistle blows at Sporting Park.

"Obviously there’s an underlying factor. Maybe it could be the mental lapses. Maybe it could be a lack of effort or maybe different things," Gonzalez said. "For the most part, we know what we have to do to get results and this time of year we have to spot on in every facet of the game. We have to work as a unit. We’re going to aim to do that in KC and preparation for the playoffs."

If the Galaxy can finally right the ship defensively, captain Robbie Keane is confident that his squad will get back to winning ways on Sunday.

"It doesn't matter what formation or system that you play," said Keane. "If everyone is pulling in the same direction and defending as well as a group then you win a lot more games then you lose."