Match Preview Presented by Drink O4: LA Galaxy “have to be ready” for huge clash with FC Dallas

The Galaxy (13-9-8, 47 points) are tied for second in the West with FC Dallas (14-9-5, 47 points), which is coming off a 3-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City. Sunday’s pivotal matchup with FC Dallas at StubHub Center (6:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes),

CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy coaches and players continue to preach patience despite three consecutive losses by shutout. Unfortunately, time is at a premium.

There are only four games left in the regular season, including Sunday’s pivotal matchup with FC Dallas at StubHub Center (6:30 p.m., Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes), and a crowded playoff race in the West – just seven points separate first-place Vancouver from sixth-place Portland – means any missteps could be disastrous.

The defending MLS Cup champions committed a number of costly errors in last weekend’s 3-0 loss to Real Salt Lake, and Steven Gerrard said the reasons for their current malaise are quite clear.

Most of them, he pointed out, are of their own doing.

“I don’t think we defend well enough. I don’t think we attack well enough,” said Gerrard, who revealed a team meeting was held Monday to address those issues. “We all agreed we have to be better defensively and going forward.

“I always believe tactically if you’re set up in the right position to defend you attack well. You get all over the place defensively it’s impossible on the transition to attack well.”

Gerrard also said the Galaxy continue to get their opponents’ best efforts.

“I think teams are showing us an awful lot more respect, which is normal,” he said. “It’s everyone’s (MLS) Cup final to play LA Galaxy; you get that feeling. You can see the way they celebrate when they beat you. It’s such a big game for them.

“We have to be ready for that and we have to match that. There’s no doubt about it, every single one of us needs to improve from last weekend.”

Head coach Bruce Arena echoed those sentiments.

“I think teams are obviously playing a certain way to shut us down, getting numbers behind the ball,” he said. “One of the mistakes we make obviously is positioning ourselves to where we’re chasing the game.

“When teams have a defensive posture and you concede a goal early, that is not the formula for success. Or the recipe for success.”

The Galaxy (13-9-8, 47 points) are tied for second in the West with FC Dallas (14-9-5, 47 points), which is coming off a 3-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City. But the visitors could see the full-time return of Mauro Diaz and Fabian Castillo, both of whom have missed time this season with injuries. Diaz did not play against Sporting Kansas City, but Castillo went 45 minutes in relief of David Texeira. Castillo tops FC Dallas, which is 0-7-1 in its last eight league meetings with the Galaxy at StubHub Center, with nine goals. Diaz is one of five players with five goals each.

Galaxy central defender Omar Gonzalez, who is hopeful for a better team performance Sunday after what he termed a “really good week” of training, agreed with Gerrard in saying the Galaxy must increase their collective intensity.

“Teams get up to play against us. We’re the Galaxy,” he said. “Every game for them is like a playoff game and we have to match that energy.

“We have to be ready and match that energy and even take it a step further.”

LA GALAXY vs. FC DALLAS
STUBHUB CENTER, Carson, Calif.
September 27, 2015 (WEEK 30, MLS Game #307)
6:30 pm PT (FS1, FOX Deportes)

The Galaxy suffered their third consecutive shutout – after scoring 13 goals in the previous four matches – losing for a second time in that stretch in a 3-0 defeat at Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium.
FC Dallas had their three-game winning run put to an end in a 3-1 defeat at Sporting Kansas City on Friday evening, Victor Ulloa scored the first goal of his professional career for FCD.
The teams are meeting for the third time this season, having split the first two. Mauro Diaz and Tesho Akindele scored goals late in the second half to pull FC Dallas back from a deficit for a 2-1 win May 9 at Toyota Stadium. Robbie Keane scored goals five minutes apart in the second half to lead the Galaxy to a 2-1 win Aug. 15 at StubHub Center.
The Galaxy are undefeated in Carson over the last eight meetings vs. FC Dallas in league play, dating back to the start of the 2010 season, going 7-0-1 in that time. FCD has won the last two games in Frisco, their first victories at home vs. the Galaxy since 2011.

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