Before Saturday night's game against the Houston Dynamo, Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez knew the team's last game in Portland was typical of what can be expected this season. The Galaxy needed a goal in stoppage time to salvage a 2-2 tie.
"We learned at moments this year it's not going to be pretty," Gonzalez said. "We have to battle from the first minute to the last to get a result. We found a lot of grit in ourselves, a lot of character. To be down that late and come right back to score a goal. We said before the game it's going to be a battle and we did that. I think we learned we have those capabilities.
"It is nice to see that everyone got together and found a way to get a result. We have to build on that, knowing that if we're not at our best on a certain day we have to find whatever it takes to get the win or the draw."
Gonzalez is hopeful the Galaxy can extend its 21-game unbeaten streak at StubHub Center. Teammate Robbie Keane is a former rival of Houston Coach Owen Coyle and anticipates a difficult contest.
"They'll be very enthusiastic with a lot of energy," Keane said. "Owen was like that as a player and certainly as a manager. It'll be a tough game. They'll be well organized. I'm delighted Owen's in this league because I've always respected him."
Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena is pleased with what he has seen from his team.
"I like the start," he said. "Hopefully we can keep getting better."
Fresh off his Galaxy debut, Mika Vayrynen is hopeful he can contribute significantly.
Vayrynen played 28 minutes against Portland and was instrumental in Gyasi Zardes' goal in the 68th minute. The 33-year-old Finnish midfielder, who was signed this month, was confident on the ball while also showing a willingness to track back to break up attacking forays by the Timbers.
"I felt pretty good. It was nice to come on [and get the half an hour," Vayrynen said of his playing time against Portland. "I missed all of the preseason, so I still need to get my fitness up. That only comes with games though. … I think my fitness is getting better and hopefully I keep getting more games and that goes up."
Said Keane about Vayrynen: "He kept the ball moving well."
Vayrynen could enter the starting lineup soon. Arena isn't ruling anything out, but he admitted Vayrynen's skills fit quite well in the Galaxy's possession-oriented style.
"We like to pass the ball and he's pretty good at that," Arena said.