International breaks are a two-sided coin. On one side, most of the team gets to rest, those who have knocks or injuries can recover, and those who do represent their countries, remain in top fitness while having a nice chunk of training time between matches in any given window.
The other side of that coin depends on a club’s form approaching break. For teams in top form, absolutely flying, a break in play could feel ill-timed. Ruin the momentum built. For other teams, and for LA Galaxy in particular, breaks can be welcomed time off. A chance to catch your collective breath and recalibrate yourselves as you focus and prepare for the second half of the season.
Smiling because we are back in action this weekend pic.twitter.com/Kk2ytRsZJw— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) June 14, 2022
The Galaxy were a mixed bag heading into break. They had two really bad losses at home to the Texas teams Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas, falling by a combined 6-1, with a draw on the road in Minnesota sandwiched between. They did however, bounce back real strong to head into the break on high. They eliminated their rivals, LAFC, from U.S. Open Cup competition in a 3-1 beatdown at home, then followed with a 4-1 thumping of Austin FC.
In many ways, it encapsulates their season to this point. A mixed bag. A strong start to the season, finding ways to win close matches, then a bit of a rough patch where finding goals was once again difficult for a team with several goalscoring options. There have been a few revelations from newcomers, like Raheem Edwards, who has brought a certain level of nastiness — in the absolute best way possible for this team — as well as players like Dejan Jolecjić ready to breakout this year and break into the starting XI. Which is why the break this time around came at the best time for this team.
The team are back in action on Saturday when they host the Portland Timbers, and they will waste no time in getting back into the congested schedule life. The return kicks off a stretch of four matches in just 11 days for the Galaxy. Luckily, three of those matches will be at home, and the lone road trip is a quick trip north to face San Jose Earthquakes. LA currently sit in fifth place in the West, only six points off the top spot. While we may be at the halfway mark of the season, this team still has plenty of time to put themselves in a great position heading into the postseason. Of course, they will also have to perform on the pitch.
That’s where the break helps. If asked, undoubtedly most of the players and staff within the Galaxy, if not everyone, will tell you they likely don't feel like they've played their best so far this season. The two matches we saw right at the end of the first half of the season, for a combined scoreline of 7-2, that's the LA squad everyone expects to see consistently. This has been a chance to get two weeks of great training in. An opportunity to refine tactics, perhaps work out some wrinkles that may, or should, be deployed during the second half of the season. All without the pressure of matches every three days. However, that respite is now over.
For all intents and purposes, especially for a team just on the inside of that playoff line in an incredibly tough conference, this is the beginning of the postseason push. Time for the Galaxy to find consistency, play with that confidence they had right before the time off, and most importantly, time to find the back of the net. After all, the only way to win matches is to score goals, sometimes multiple in the same match. If the team used this time off well, we could be in for a tasty second half of the season, more importantly, we should be looking a very successful postseason, but first, the team has to get there.
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