The journey through the first 25 games hasn’t been easy for Greg Vanney and the Galaxy.
The final nine games figure to be a wild ride, as well.
The Galaxy enters the week still in fourth place in the Western Conference, despite being on a six-game winless streak.
“I think everybody is disappointed that we’ve lost a little bit of momentum that we had during the first portion of the season,” Vanney said Friday. “In that, I know everybody is positive and everybody is working hard, we’re just trying to continue to tighten up what we were doing as a team.
“Now that we more or less have the full complement of our selection, it’s also getting the right partnerships on the field, the right guys who can work together to do what we need them to do.”
Fresh off of a one-week break, something that’s been uncommon this season, the Galaxy returns to action Sunday night on the road against Austin FC (6:30 p.m., ESPN2).
Austin FC (5-16-4, 19 points) has lost five consecutive games and eight of their past nine, possibly opening the door for the Galaxy (11-9-5, 38 points) to finally get back on track. Austin FC has scored just 25 goals in 25 games.
“We’ve had these stretches of defending where we’ve been decent and then we undo ourselves with a mistake,” Vanney said. “How we tighten those things up down the stretch, who’s on the field, how we partner up people on the defensive side are things we’ve been working through this week.
This league is about momentum and need to have a game where we can get the momentum shifted back in our favor and I think we’ll be in a good way.”
The Galaxy defeated Austin FC 2-0 on May 15.
Getting off to a quick could also benefit the Galaxy. The Galaxy has just one win when it allows the first goal.
“We often talk going into the game of getting into halftime 0-0 or 1-0 up is the objective in the first half and lately we’ve found ourselves on the wrong side of that,” Vanney said. “Some of the mistakes that we’ve made, we’ve found very different ways to make mistakes. We’ve found a lot of different ways to concede chances and goals.
“Sometimes you feel like we’re going to run out of ways to create those moments, but we still find them. You would think that through some of these experiences, we would make less of these mistakes and that we would be able to tighten up some of those things …having said that, we tried as much as possible during the course of this season to find ways to have some consistency in our back line, to have consistency through our defensive midfield, but we’ve lacked that consistency.”
Next week’s games will also be extremely important to the Galaxy’s playoff chances. The Western Conference race has bunched up significantly, with eight points separating the Galaxy and 10th-place San Jose.
The Galaxy will travel from Texas to Utah for Wednesday’s game against Real Salt Lake and then return home for the Oct. 3 El Trafico clash with LAFC.
“Austin is a dangerous opponent in many ways,” Vanney said. “They really don’t have anything to lose. They can throw whatever they want at us in any way they want to and take whatever risks they want to try to get a result. ….They have nothing to lose and they can go for it.
“We have a group that’s trying to find the momentum that we need to go down the stretch to get ourselves in that playoff picture and have the best chance down the stretch.”
GALAXY (11-9-5, 38 pts) at AUSTIN FC (5-16-4, 19 pts)
When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Q2 Stadium, Austin, Texas