Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy bounced back in a big way in their 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew and will now look to build on their winning result on Sunday night against Schellas Hyndman’s FC Dallas at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
Arena himself was satisfied with the performance of the team but believed that a little more from the players had to be done to impress the manager.
“We fought hard to try and win the game,” Arena told reporters on Thursday. “We were fortunate to capitalize on two penalty kicks. On the night, we played OK—the second half a little bit better than the first half.
“We just had to battle and try to create some chances at the end and we were fortunate to get a couple of calls that made a difference. We’ve been on the other side of those games a couple of times this year. At this point in the season, we should have 11, 12 victories, but we’ve shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times. We got to battle and keep moving forward. We have to move up the ladder in a very competitive conference.
“There’s an awful lot of work to be done. Finishing our chances is one of them. Defensively on the night, we were, for the most part, pretty good. Columbus really wasn’t that dangerous and 10 minutes to go we’re chasing the game, and that’s not good. So, we’ve got to get better in all aspects and hopefully we can.”
Columbus’s players were complaining about the penalties, and perhaps they had some form of argument, but for Galaxy captain Robbie Keane, it’s a matter of getting on with it.
“I’m looking at the ball and someone comes into the back of (me),” Keane said of the second penalty in the 91st minute of play. “If someone runs into the back of you without you knowing the fact is you’re going to fall over. I didn’t see him behind me when I wanted to take the ball down and he just ran into me. When you’re in the penalty box you obviously have to be very careful.
“After the result on [Saturday] it’s important to get a win, no matter which way we did it. To be honest, we’re certainly the better team. There’s no question about it when you win down a goal with 20 minutes to go.”
FC Dallas and Los Angeles are within a few points of each other, and Keane is aware that a win on Sunday can make the race in the West even tighter. The health of the team is his main concern.
“Obviously it’s been a really tough week for us,” Keane said. “I think that’s why we have all of the trainers to make sure we get ready for the game Sunday. It’s a quick turnaround but I think it’s the same for everybody so it doesn’t make a difference.”
Even though goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini gave up the first goal of the game to the Crew’s Bernardo Anor, he attributes the victory to the play of the defensive backline to get it done.
“I think we did a very good job on the back,” Cudicini said. “especially because we wanted to prevent (Federico) Higuain from getting the ball and create chances because he was the dangerous player tonight, and we did a good job. Then on the freekick they get the score; it was [a] pity because I felt we deserved to get the clean sheet.”
“Several times this season I think we’ve played great games but have let up late, or things just don’t go our way,” said defender Omar Gonzalez, whose recoveries were huge in keeping the Galaxy in it. “Tonight, maybe the second PK wasn’t such a great call, but hey, it went in our favor and I can’t ask for anything more than that. It was a great call by the referee, especially at home, and getting the win for the fans, it was great.
“Maybe now we can start getting more wins and start a streak, because that’s something that we need. A few more wins could put us in an even better position. Now it’s time to start thinking about playoffs, and now every win counts. This is a fun time of the year.”
One player for the Galaxy that really needs to get back on the drawing board and start finishing his chances is forward Gyasi Zardes. Now granted, he’s only a rookie, but Zardes has to realize that the training wheels are off and that it’s time to ride that proverbial bicycle with precision and balance. That comes with putting the ball in the back of the net.
“I want to put the ball in the back of the net but I just have to keep working,” Zardes admitted on Thursday. “It really gets to me so I just have to keep working hard, I have to. There’s always competition out there, so I just have to keep working.”
Kickoff between the Los Angeles Galaxy and FC Dallas is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Time Warner Cable SportsNet.