CARSON, Calif. -- A quiet and unsettling demeanor hung in the Los Angeles Galaxy locker room after the team fell 3-2 at home to the Chicago Fire. Players were either anxious to leave and put this day behind them, or sat idly in dismay at what had transpired that evening.
After Chicago raced out to a three-goal lead, the league leaders hit back and scored two penalties to make a game of it. Eventually, though, the Fire emerged with the full points.
"Our start to the game was poor," confessed coach Bruce Arena. "From the technical part of the game, in the early minutes, we failed. Defensively, we made a bunch of errors. Over the last 60 minutes or so it wasn't bad, [but] our technical execution was poor."
In the past two games, both of which the Galaxy lost, LA has allowed seven goals and only forced three (one own-goal and two penalty kicks). It's obvious the LA machine is broken, but what exactly is sending the LA Galacticos in this downward spiral?
"Players can get a little comfortable when they look at the league standing and see that we're out front, and I think that's been the case on a number of player," explained Arena.
However, Landon Donovan, who scored his 100th and 101st regular season MLS goals, offered a different explanation to their recent folly.
"We gave up four chances and they scored three goals, and I'd like to say that a lot of that has to do with luck, but I think those things happen for a reason," Donovan said. "Maybe our attitude's not right, maybe we're not focused on our jobs and focusing on other things off the field."
Whatever the case my be, everyone recognizes that there is a problem in dire need of fixing, but with such a tight schedule still in the mix, there's no telling when they'll have time for a pit stop. LA will depart Monday for Puerto Rico for the second leg of the Champions League match against the Islanders, and then come back for a friendly versus Spanish superstar club, Real Madrid, on Saturday.
With the MLS season headed toward the playoffs, the Galaxy will want to rebound in time to build up momentum for a run at the MLS Cup. Somewhere, the team will have to find the white-hot form it had to start the season.
But just like the good form dissipated, defender Gregg Berhalter sees the current slump as just the down arc of a cycle.
"There are times during the season where things don't go your way, and now is that time." said Berhalter. "I dont think it's time to panic, I think it's time to look at things and regroup."
"It's a soccer game. Obvious we don't like it, we're not proud of it, and obviously it needs correcting. We've been there before and we've responded a lot of times after crises like this and we'll respond again."
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