Carson, CA – The Los Angeles Galaxy learned over the weekend they still have a long way to go to regain last year's MLS Cup form, but help is on the way.
L.A. had its three-match winning streak ended with a 4-3 loss at the San Jose Earthquakes, as it surrendered a 3-1 first-half lead against the top squad in the Western Conference and the overall MLS leader.
The Galaxy have allowed 27 goals, the most in the Western Conference, with MLS Defender of the Year Omar Gonzalez sidelined with an ACL injury.
He was activated from the disabled list Tuesday, just before the Philadelphia Union visit The Home Depot Center on Wednesday.
Gonzalez may not be ready to start against Philadelphia (3-9-2), but just his presence is a boost for L.A. (6-9-2).
Los Angeles, which got goals from David Beckham and Landon Donovan last week, is just two points out of fifth place and the final playoff spot in the West. The Galaxy are also just six points off the bottom of the standings.
"It was a sloppy game, a lot of mishaps," L.A. coach Bruce Arena said after the San Jose loss. "Kind of what we expected on a tight, short field. We did a poor job (defensively).
"Our defense on set pieces wasn't good, and it cost us the game. We have no one to blame. We should not lose that game."
Gonzalez, who suffered the injury in January, had made a fast recovery. But he still faces a race for fitness, which will likely be a problem for at least a few more weeks.
If L.A. can maintain recent form while Gonzalez regains fitness, it could be a contender late in the year. But for that to happen, it must get better results at home. The Galaxy are just 4-4-1 at home this season. They were undefeated at home in 2011.
The Galaxy will be without Beckham against the Union, as he will serve a one- game suspension for accumulated yellow cards.
Philadelphia has earned just four points from seven road games and is just two points off the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
The Union lost 2-1 at the Houston Dynamo last weekend and are winless in their last four on the road. Interim manager John Hackworth admitted the team still has work to do to erase a poor start, and that showed against Houston.
"We lost a little bit of steam midway through the second half. We got away from our possession game and we let them creep back into the game a little bit," said Hackworth. "We have to manage it better. We have to be more intelligent."
The Union have allowed just 17 goals this season, but have scored an East-low 13. Philadelphia recently signed ex-MLS Defender of the Year finalist Bakary Soumare, but he is not expected to be available against L.A.
But with Gonzalez and Soumare in the picture, both clubs could use a win this Fourth of July to spark a second-half turnaround.