With the Supporters' Shield years in the past, the LA Galaxy have followed a consistent pattern in recent history of slow starts and strong finishes. Much of the blame has been placed on CONCACAF Champions League and national team duty, both of which will be in the review mirror starting with this weekday match against New England.
Omar Gonzalez will soon be back with the team as he recovers from his World Cup knocks, and though LA still has injury concerns the replacements have looked good over the past months. The three points against Real Salt Lake brought LA up to 1.6 points per match, better than all but Seattle in the West and tied for fourth overall with Toronto FC.
"We're getting there. We're getting, in my opinion, the best defender in the league back soon, and that can only help. I think defensively we've been very good this year. In most games we shouldn't have allowed goals and we're getting back to having a really good defensive mentality."
LA is getting back to being the club that can grind out 1-0 victories and that's been without Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant, or Sean Franklin who's no longer with the club. That's three of the four principles that were a part of LA's best defensive line gone, and get they've managed clean sheets in two of their last three outings.
The club's goals allowed is a minuscule 13 and while some of that is playing fewer fixtures than any other team, when averaged out LA has the lowest goals against average in the league. Jaime Penedo has the second lowest goals against average in the league, with Kansas City doing some keeper rotation explaining the disparity.
"We've had a lot of different guys coming in and out of the lineups, so that sort of hurts with continuity...We're playing well on that end of the field, but if we keep defending like that we are going to be hard to beat."
Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan are starting to get some help scoring from Gyasi Zardes, but other players need to start contributing again. The Galaxy need to start taking advantage of set pieces and find some good targets in the penalty area. However, their defensive play without their best defender has been quite encouraging as they start to make their second half charge.