The Galaxy’s success this season is usually found scoring first and also when playing against the Eastern Conference.
By scoring the first goal, the Galaxy are 9-1-2. And while it’s a limited schedule against the East, the Galaxy are 4-1-1.
For the next two games, the Galaxy will try to improve on those numbers, visiting New England on Sunday and Toronto FC on Wednesday.
“You have a very small home advantage, but if you don’t know how to manage and you don’t know how to close games, it doesn’t matter,” Javier “Chicharito” Hernández said. “We’re going to play on artificial turf (in New England), something we haven’t played in a long time, against a very tough team and then Toronto. We will be ready.
“We are happy, a little, to be on the road and we are going to look for the three points in each game”.
Hernández has regained his goalscoring touch in recent times, with four goals in his last three games. He has also converted two penalties after a stretch in which he wasn’t taking them. He leads the teams with 11 goals.
“When we score first, we usually have more than a winning percentage. And when the opponent scores first, we have one of the worst comeback percentages,” he said. “I think what you see is that when we score, emotionally we are more confident in some way, but that is something to work on.
“We need to maintain consistency. People think that consistency means we need to score four goals in every game and keep a clean sheet in every game, that’s not consistency. Consistency is giving our opponent the fewest chances and creating the most chances offensively, but if that doesn’t happen, we have to be smart about getting as many points as we can both home and away.”
The Galaxy (10-11-4, 34 points) began the week in the seventh and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but fell below the playoff line because of Saturday’s games. New England and Toronto FC are below the playoff line in the Eastern Conference.
“Like every team in MLS, New England has pieces that can hurt you,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. “It may not be his brightest moment in the last week, for me in 26 years in the league, it’s never easy playing in New England. You are playing on synthetic, it is a relatively slow surface, they are quite comfortable and good at home. It is never an easy scenario.
“Like I told our guys, it’s not going to be the beautiful game you want it to be in New England. It will be a game where you will have to work hard and do what you have to do. We have to be able to come in with some resiliency and toughness and defend hard in moments where we have to defend strong and be reliable in moments of possession and we have to take our chances.”
New England is currently riding a nine-game unbeaten streak at home and the Galaxy have lost four straight on the road.
The Galaxy added Uruguayan defender Martín Cáceres for the rest of the season with an option for 2023.
“I feel like our group could use some leadership, some vocal presence, some nasty if you will, some tackling, some problem solving,” Vanney said. “Someone who has that experience, seen a lot of things, played in different ways, feels confident and comfortable to fit into the game and communicate with the players around him.”
Galaxy in New England
When: 5:08 p.m. Sunday
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.
TV: Spectrum SportsNet