Galaxy seek first home win since April vs. New York City FC
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[August 12, 2017]
By Steve Habel, The Sports Xchange
There has been plenty of water under
the bridge and even a coaching change in Los Angeles in the
four-plus months since the Galaxy won a match at home.
New York City FC will be out to extend the Galaxy's woeful streak on
their home pitch when the sides square off Saturday at the StubHub
Center in Carson, Calif.
Los Angeles (6-11-5, 23 points) has slumped to a 1-6-4 mark at home,
with its most recent victory on April 7 at StubHub Center when it
defeated Montreal 2-0. Who would have thought that win in the first
weeks of spring would be the only one for the Galaxy as the season
hits its final third?
The eight-match home winless streak is LA's longest swoon since 2010
and just three short of tying the longest home winless run in MLS
since 2010 (11, Colorado).
Los Angeles fell 3-1 to Portland on Sunday to extend its streak
without a victory in league play to six games. That run of bad form
has pushed the Galaxy to ninth place in the Western Conference, nine
points out of the West's final postseason place with 12 games
Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid said after the loss to the Timbers that his
team can't even think about the postseason until it starts playing
better. Saturday's match against NYCFC has to be considered a must
win at home to right a lot of recent wrongs.
"We can't get caught up in points -- we need to get caught up in
playing better soccer," Schmid said. "Right now, we're just not
playing good soccer. We need to compete more for the right
Schmid says his team must become more balanced and work to make home
matches a gauntlet for the Galaxy's opponents.
"We want to establish our home ground again," he said. "We need to
regain our home-field advantage. Teams used to come and play the
Galaxy and there was fear in their hearts. Now, there is not so much
fear anymore. At the end of the day, all that re-establishes that
confidence and that fear is to win games."
The fly in the ointment to Schmid's plan is that NYCFC (12-7-4, 40
points) is one of MLS' top road teams, earning four wins and a draw
in 11 matches away from home.
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NYCFC heads to Southern California on the heels of a
dramatic 3-2 home victory over the New York Red Bulls in which David
Villa garnered his first MLS hat trick -- including two goals in the
final 20 minutes -- to spur the win.
Villa passed Chicago's Nemanja Nikolic to move on top of the Golden
Boot race with 17 goals in 22 matches. NYCFC has 11 games to play
and Villa is 10 goals from tying the league record for a season.
Since beating crosstown rival New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena
on June 24, NYCFC has failed to win on the road and has conceded
seven goals in two games away from Yankee Stadium.
NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira expects Saturday's match to require the
same amount of intensity from his side to produce success.
"I expect the team to work as hard as they did against the Red
Bulls, and I'm looking for the team to be sharp in their minds and
to give everything they have on the field," Vieira said. "We have to
play well, we will have to be focused and concentrated from the
start to the end -- we have to challenge them. If not, it'll be an
easy game for them.
"Los Angeles is always a difficult team to play against. They've had
some up and downs in the season, but if you look at their team
individually, there is a lot of talent and, like always, it's going
to be really tough and difficult."
Since NYCFC's club record-equaling four-match win streak in June, it
has not managed to string together back-to-back victories in MLS.
It's the first and only time the teams will play this season and
just the third time Los Angeles and New York City FC have met. Each
team won at home in the past two years.
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