Curt Onalfo’s tenure as coach of the LA Galaxy did not get off to a splendid start. With two wins in their opening eight matches, the team was putting in lackluster performances, a crisis emerging for the five-time MLS Cup champions.
Yet, after scoring two second half goals in a come-from-behind draw against the Chicago Fire last week, the Galaxy were finally able to get back to winning ways with a dynamic 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, their first win since beating the Montreal Impact on April 7.
The Galaxy got on the score sheet early, through two Romain Alessandrini strikes in the eighth and ninth minute, which the goal scorer himself said “was the plan” against the Red Bulls.
“I think it depends when you play away,” Alessandrini added, “because we leave the ball [to] the other team, and when we take the ball, we try to play quickly.”
LA captain Jelle Van Damme also spoke about tactic on the road, saying those matches are “all about mentality,” a word dropped by multiple members of the team.
Alessandrini connected the performances against the Fire and the Red Bulls saying that the team found a rhythm last week. He added that, in training the team worked all this week to “keep the mentality.”
“we are the same players, the same team,” Alessandrini said, “but everything has changed.”
The midfielder, the star of the night, saying he was a little bit surprised regarding his two early goals, adding that he was “lucky.” Alessandrini, though, switched his comments to the general performance of his attacking partners, Giovani dos Santos and Gyasi Zardes.
Dos Santos, who scored a penalty for the Galaxy’s third goal, noted the team’s mentality change after the match against Chicago.
“We [said] after the game, ‘that’s the way we have to keep going’, dos Santos asi, “and I think today, our start was great.”
“Everybody on the attack can score,” Alessandrini added, “so it’s very important for me.”
The Mexican international also credited the switch in form to team chemistry.
“I think everyone knew what they [had] to do on the pitch,” the forward said, after saying the win “gives us a lot of confidence.”
The mood in the Galaxy camp is particularly good especially after playing in a tough place against the Red Bulls.
Van Damme, though, is quick to not oversell the match’s value.
“I don’t want to talk about that too much. I just like to take it game by game,” emphasizing that LA was not too excited about the win.
“We won 3-1, but we were disappointed because we [conceded] a goal,” he added. “That’s the way that should be.”
The Galaxy, though, are seemingly correcting course after an unimpressive start. Onalfo himself said the team felt confident, though he knows there’s still room for improvement.
“We’re building,” the coach said, “and we’re just going to keep working to make sure we can get better.”