The 2022 season for LA Galaxy has been an adventure to say the very least. In a lot of ways, it feels like last season, especially with how the final few weeks of the regular season is shaping up. However, while we've lamented lethargic performances, and discussed disappointing results ad nauseam, it’s time to take a moment — albeit briefly — to stop and smell the success that has risen through the turf over recent matches. With just a handful of matches left, the improvements couldn't have come at a better time.
Galaxy are unbeaten in their last three matches, with two wins and a draw, but more than just the final results is how well they've looked in recent times out. Typically, we’d see a slow-starting LA side who allows early goals, struggles to find footing in the middle of the match, then ends with a flurry that either comes up short of the comeback, or ends in a shared point. However, the last few matches has seen a revitalized energy from the side. First, there was the 5-2 thrashing of Vancouver Whitecaps at home. The team jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first 20 minutes of the match, and ended the first half with a massive 4-0 lead. From there, the team saw out the win and even added a goal while getting some valuable minutes from other players.
There was the most impressive, and slightly disappointing, performance of the season when the team faced off against the Seattle Sounders. The team again scored quick goals, scoring the first in just 10 minutes and ending the half up 2-0. Unfortunately Seattle are still good at playing an entire 90 minutes, and eventually overcome and at one point led 3-2, but the new and improved Galaxy didn't hang heads and instead fight for a last-second equalizer. While the draw felt slightly disappointing, you couldn't help but see a shift with the squad. Which brings us to this past weekend.
On the road against a very tough New England Revolution side, who are also fighting for a spot in the playoffs over in the Eastern Conference, the team continued to play well and look like a different side. This time, it was new arrival Riqui Puig and some of the young players who made the impact. Daniel Aguirre who's only logged about 300 minutes so far this season, was on the receiving end of a beautiful Chicharito pass to set up a goal in the 4th minute of the match. Then, a short time later, newcomer Puig flashed his passing ability, finding Chicharito for the goal to double the lead. Granted, you would’ve liked to see the team finish more and come away with a larger margin of victory, but just seeing out the early lead, and not conceding until after 80 minutes, and then just once, was a very solid, professional performance, something we haven't seen too much from this side.
So what does it all mean? From the looks of it, it appears that something in the squad has clicked. Sure, its only been three matches, but with just eight left to play before the postseason, there isn't too much time to wait and see for a bigger sample size. This is the time of year you hope teams, especially ones that have struggled throughout the season, start to find some sort of rhythm to make one last push. Galaxy look to be hitting the run of form, and with youngsters and new additions finally making an impact, we could be seeing the start of a very exciting, and very much needed, playoff run.
The team travel to face off against Toronto FC on Wednesday, in what is the first of five matches in their remaining eight, to be played on the road. Like Toronto, and like the Galaxy, the road ahead is filled with teams looking to either sneak into one of the final playoff spots, or solidify themselves on the right side of the line. The team face a challenge if they want to hold onto the seventh spot. Luckily, like last year, the team control their own destiny. Unlike last year, they seem to be finding themselves, playing better, and finding wins when they need it most.
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