Consistency expected from Galaxy defense
While Los Angeles Galaxy manager Bruce Arena brought in nine new players to the team, a defensive unit that gave up only 26 goals in the regular season was mostly left intact.
It can be said that bigger things are expected from the backline, which now has Ryan Thomas and Frankie Hejduk in the lineup.
“It’s [Arena's] job to get things right,” goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts said. “It’s our job to do them right on the field.”
Ricketts, the 2010 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, finished his initial campaign with an 18-7-4 record, 12 shutouts and a 0.90 goals average.
“You never know with that stuff,” said defender Todd Dunivant. “You come out every day and do your job, and we did that last year. We came in every day and put in our work and throughout the year, we were the best team in the league."
In spite of giving up critical defeats for patches of the regular season and the Western Conference Championship, Dunivant was optimistic.
“We’ve had a very good defense the last two years," Dunivant said. "Last year it was one of the best all-time in the history of the league, and that tells you something. We had a good group, a deep group.
"Adding somebody like Frankie just adds more depth to us. We drafted Ryan Thomas, and we got another bit of depth there. I think our defense got a little better actually in the offseason.
“If we can build on that, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”
Ricketts agreed that in spite of having the second-best scoring defense in MLS during the regular season, it didn't translate well in the playoffs.
“Obviously not good enough; we didn’t win (the title),” Ricketts said. “But I think it was a good defense. Hopefully we can build on what we had, be even more compact than what we had and keep working hard.
"Individually we have good players, and hopefully we can jell again as a team.
“If we can stick together and play as a team, there is no telling what we can do. We can’t think about what we did, but what we have to do. Hopefully, we can do it again.”
Impaling the Lions
In their first game since their setback to the Newcastle Jets a few months ago, the Galaxy took their frustrations out on the Loyola Marymount Lions by the tune of 7-1 on Friday at Victoria Street.
Chris Birchall, who is more known for his defending rather than his scoring touch, scored a brace for the Galaxy.
Juan Pablo Angel, Gregg Berhalter and Juninho added first-half goals to make it 5-0 at the break.
Paolo Cardozo and Jovan Kirovski added goals in the second half.
However, that contest was a scrimmage. Their first preseason game will be on Tuesday, Feb. 8, when they face the expansion Portland Timbers.