LA Galaxy

Chicharito hoping LA Galaxy can 'take back momentum' following international break

Chris Smith
The Galaxy picked up two big wins before the pause in play.
The Galaxy picked up two big wins before the pause in play. / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

For some, the international break is the perfect chance to recharge and reset but for the LA Galaxy, it came at the worst possible time.

Greg Vanney's side had just recovered brilliantly from a humbling 3-0 home loss to the Houston Dynamo by beating rivals LAFC 3-1 in the US Open Cup and then hammering Austin FC 4-1 in MLS play.

Almost three weeks have passed since the Galaxy's last game and this weekend's clash at home to the Portland Timbers will be all about regaining momentum, according to Chicharito.

“We hope we can take back that momentum that we left with the break,” the Mexican striker said during a midweek press conference. “Hopefully, we can get three more points with a very good performance like the last two we did here in our stadium. So yeah, we’re very excited.”

Chicharito added: “The break helps to rest and to recharge in a way. But yeah, the challenge now is like, yeah, try to take it back that momentum and that performance and that attitude that we showed in the last two games.”

For a while between the end of April and mid-May, it looked like the Galaxy would waste their strong start and were in for another season of battling for one of the last Playoff spots. A run of just one win in five MLS matches certainly didn't leave many convinced of their credentials.

But those back-to-back victories against LAFC and Austin - who occupy first and fourth in the West - have done more than just move the Galaxy back into fifth place and into the US Open Cup quarter-finals; they've also helped them realize just what they're capable of at their best.

“I think there’s a genuine belief in the group they can do something special if they can keep that intensity high and keep progressing as a group,” Vanney said. “That there’s no reason why they can’t lift some trophies at the end of this season. When you have that kind of belief and motivation, then the right type of personalities start to come out within the group.”

For center-back Derrick Williams, it's been as simple as 'flipping a switch', though like his head coach, the Irishman highlights 'intensity' as the key to extending their winning streak.

“I think a switch kind of flipped and we realized, ‘Look, this is how good we can be',” he said. “We have to put it in every day. I feel like straight away, since the first training that everyone’s been back, the intensity is there again, and we’re just looking forward to playing now.”