The Galaxy face FC Dallas in a big MLS matchup today (6:30 p.m., FOX Sports 1) for potential playoff seeding as both teams are tied for second in the Western Conference. Many players, including A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez and Sebastian Lletget, called it a “must-win.”
The team is on a four-game winless streak, having not won since the star-studded affair that was the 5-1 drubbing of New York City FC. The Galaxy have four games remaining in the regular season, with all four games against current play-off bound teams.
Here’s everything you need to know for game day:
GAME DAY (and other stuff) LINKS:
- Previewing the game with a focus on the mentality of a championship team always under fire.
With big-name international stars, a glamorous market and five MLS Cups, the Galaxy are fighting to maintain the legacy of excellence they set for themselves as teams feverishly try to knock them off.
“We’re going to get everyone’s best game of the year, everyone is going to be excited to play us,” said A.J. DeLaGarza, who was drafted out of college by the Galaxy in 2009. “For us, that’s tough to face every single week whether we’re here or on the road. But we have the players and the professionalism to get through that. We haven’t at some times this year and now is going to be the real test.”
- Nick Green’s weekly soccer column asks whether the Galaxy’s slump has knocked them out of the championship conversation.
- It’s another sellout so make sure to arrive early.
- The Corner of the Galaxy podcast talks Steven Gerrard, Bruce Arena and FC Dallas.
- Giovani dos Santos is hopeful to make the final cut for the CONCACAF Cup
- Also on the CONCACAF Cup game, it could be coming to a theater near you.
- Video of Steven Gerrard’s media availability this week
SEBASTIAN LLETGET TRYING TO SHAKE OFF RECENT STRUGGLES
In concordance with the Galaxy’s recent slide, Lletget hasn’t played a full 90 in his past three games. He hasn’t scored, and he has no more than one shot per game, none of which fell on goal. The dynamic relationship he has with Robbie Rogers on the left side of the field hasn’t been as productive as it was previously.
On Thursday, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said Lletget is going through a freshman slump, if you will, as the midfielder is really in his first year as a professional.
“I think he’s hit a wall a little bit physically and usually what happens is you generally have a lull for some weeks, but then you start to get your legs back and you’re back again to normal,” Arena said.
Lletget echoed with some of Arena’s thoughts, saying that the grind of the season is both mentally and physically taxing.
“I feel like we’ve grinded it out for a long time, that was a big toll on our bodies,” Lletget said. “Mentally as well, and for some of us, physically, especially me, because I haven’t had this much consistency in a while. But I feel like I’ll be fine, I’m training very well, and I’m confident.”
EARLY GOALS COME BACK TO BITE GALAXY
Conceding early goals has been a problem for the Galaxy all year, but until recently, the offense was always able to pull the team out of an early hole. Arena said teams are playing more defensively against the Galaxy in recent games, putting numbers back to quell any chance of a Galaxy counter.
The head coach also stressed that the poor results of recent weeks haven’t come from technical deficiencies, but from mental ones. Omar Gonzalez specifically said being ready to mentally match the energy of opposing teams at the start of games is important for the rest of the season.
“Teams get up to play us because who we are; we’re the Galaxy,” Gonzalez said. “Every game for them is like a playoff game. We have to get up and match that energy.”