With a 1-0 loss to the Portland Timbers, Los Angeles Galaxy killed any real chance of winning the Supporters Shield and are only four points clear of making the playoffs. They only have four games left, so every point is critical at this point. Nonetheless, Landon Donovan was critical of the Galaxy’s set piece defending in the loss.
Portland’s lone goal came off a corner kick, and it feels like a broken record to both the Galaxy and their fans. So far this season, LA has given up 13 goals off set pieces, with six from corner kicks. Those 13 goals alone are the main reason why LA does not sit higher in the standings. After the match, Donovan spoke with reporters about their set-piece defending:
“It’s a mentality. Defensive set pieces is solely a mentality: who wants the ball more. Too often guys have let down in that area. So either you change who’s marking, or people don’t play if they can’t do that. Sort of the harsh reality, but that’s the way it has to be. You can’t keep giving up goals like that.”
Captain Robbie Keane echoed Donovan’s thoughts:
“Forget about tactics and all that stuff, it’s about desire and commitment to go and win the ball. At this moment in time, the other teams have just probably more desire than we have to try and defend set pieces.”
With the way the Galaxy’s season has been going, it looks like players other than Donovan and Keane need to step up. If not, the defending champions could possibly fail to make the playoffs. In short, that would be down right embarrassing and disappointing for the Galaxy.
The time is now for them to step up on set piece defending. The first step is to not give up so many dangerous chances.