Even a thrilling victory in the team’s most recent contest couldn’t keep Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena from hinting that his club has underachieved this season.
The two-time defending MLS Cup champions will look to pick up ground in the Western Conference standings while avenging an earlier loss Sunday night versus visiting FC Dallas, which is winless in its last five matches.
Los Angeles (8-7-3) is in the middle of the pack in a competitive conference after defeating Columbus 2-1 on Thursday in a game it was on the brink of losing. Two questionable penalty calls led to PK conversions for Robbie Keane in the 85th and 91st minutes.
“We fought hard to try to win the game and were fortunate to capitalize on two penalty kicks,” Arena said. “On the night, we played OK, but we can certainly be accused of not finishing our chances and putting ourselves in poor position, which certainly happened.”
Despite playing without Landon Donovan, who scored twice to become the all-time U.S. goals leader in a 6-0 win over Guatemala in a Gold Cup warm-up match Friday, Arena didn’t mince his words regarding where he believes his team should stand.
The Galaxy, who trail Dallas by four points, also will be without Donovan on Sunday.
“At this point in the season, we should have 11, 12 victories,” Arena said. “We’ve shot ourselves in the foot a number of times. We have to keep moving forward and try to move up the ladder in a very competitive conference. It’s probably going to look like that for the remainder of the season.
“We’ve got to get better in all aspects.”
Los Angeles squandered at least a point when George John scored in the 87th minute to give FC Dallas a 1-0 victory April 13, though late goals have been nothing new lately for Dallas (8-3-7).
Heading into Thursday’s game with last-place Chivas USA, Dallas played from behind in four straight league matches and needed goals in the 88th minute or later just to salvage draws in the last two. The club never trailed against Chivas, settling for a scoreless draw.
Dallas was shut out for only the second time, but both have come during its current 0-1-4 slump which has left the club three points behind first-place Real Salt Lake.
“The beginning of the first half, we were playing really well and we kind of faded in the middle of the game,” defender Matt Hedges said. “We were giving the ball away too much and not keeping enough possession.”
Blas Perez has half of the team’s six goals during the winless streak, with each coming after the 60th minute. Only one of Dallas’ goals has come in the first half.
Dallas’ April victory over the Galaxy ended an 0-3-1 stretch in the series. It is 0-2-1 in its last three road matchups with Los Angeles.