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Saturday, September 18, 2010
GALAXY: 'We need to get better'

By Scott French

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena was asked after the Galaxy’s 2-1 victory Saturday night over D.C. United -- the club’s first come-from-behind win all season and its first successive wins since June 5 -- if the “August complacency” was behind the team. Here is how he answered:


“August complacency … I guess that’s one way to term it, but we have seven points in our last three games. This is Week 25 of the season. We’ve been in first place for 25 weeks. We’ve been the first team in the league to get 10 points, 20 points, 30 points, 40 points and 50 points. It hasn’t been that bad. We didn’t expect this season to be perfect. And we managed to play 23 of our games without David Beckham, and we’ve dealt with our issues.

“Overall, to date, regardless of what you think, I’m pleased with our team. I know if we don’t get better, we’re not going to have a chance to win MLS Cup. I understand that completely. But it hasn’t been the worst. It’s been OK to date.

“We certainly realize we need to get better. But now we have a team with eight wins at home and seven on the road -- we’ve done OK, guys. And it hasn’t been perfect; I know that. Every team has had a little bit of a stretch where it hasn’t gone well. You’ve got to be able to deal with that.

“If you look at other sports -- remember last year we were burying the Lakers in that one stretch. The New Orleans Saints, if I can recall, lost three games in a row at the end of the season last year. I mean, it’s part of sport, and the character of teams and athletes comes out in these situations. Maybe people in normal life don’t understand that, but it’s the part of sport that’s challenging. When everything’s perfect, anyone can deal under those circumstances.

“I think we never completely got our heads underwater. We were close to going under at times, but we’ve kept our heads above water, and hopefully we’re moving a little bit more forward here. And, again, I’ll make it clear” We have to get better. We know that. But it hasn’t been that bad. … I’m steering the ship a little, so I have to have the right mentality dealing with these issues, and I think we’ve been able to deal with them despite the fact I think we’ve been counted out a little bit.

“But it hasn’t been that bad. And, again, we know we have to get better or we’re not going to be back in the MLS Cup. There are five difficult [regular-season] games ahead of us. We know that. We probably need to win four of them to win the Supporters’ Shield and have home-field advantage [for the Western Conference playoffs]. It’s not going to be easy. So we’ll see how it plays out.”