The Galaxy’s home used to be their castle, a place where they reigned supreme.
Between 2013 and 2016, the team lost just six times in 68 games at StubHub Center, making the playoffs each season. But over the last season and a half, home has been anything but sweet.
And goalkeeper David Bingham says that has to change if the Galaxy hope to again compete for an MLS Cup.
“Anytime you play at home you need to pick up points,” he said. “And you can’t do that without your home being a fortress and having that confidence at home. You need to know when you step on the field at home you’re probably going to win.”
The Galaxy got a start on that Friday, when Romain Alessandrini curled a long shot just inside the left post in the 82nd minute to beat the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 before an announced crowd of 23,118.
The score, which came on the team’s only shot on goal, gave the Galaxy (5-6-1) consecutive wins for the first time in a year. It was also their first victory at home since March and it evened their season record at StubHub Center at 3-3.
For Bingham, the shutout was his second in as many games, extending his scoreless-minute streak to 218 minutes. And he had to make just one save against his old team to do it.
“At home, it should be a little easier for you,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “It should be a little bit easier in terms of getting points at home.”
They got three points Friday, but they definitely weren’t won on style.
In his final game before leaving to join Mexico’s World Cup team — and with Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio in the house — midfielder Jonathan dos Santos took the captain’s armband and quarterbacked the Galaxy through a frustrating first half. Although the team had a narrow lead in time of possession, it never tested San Jose keeper Andrew Tarbell.
The Galaxy’s two most dangerous chances came a minute apart early in the half, the first on a long Alessandrini cross that Chris Pontius headed wide of an open net, and the second when Ola Kamara fanned on a bicycle-kick attempt from the center of the 18-yard box.
Then in the 34th minute Alessandrini inadvertently stepped in front of a hard shot from teammate Sebastian Lletget. Dos Santos’ brother Gio, also a candidate for Mexico’s World Cup team, came off the bench in the 75th minute but was unable to provide much spark. The Galaxy were without striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was ineligible after drawing a red card Monday in Montreal.
But if the Galaxy’s luck on the offensive end was mostly bad, they caught a break at the other end when the officials didn’t call defender Emrah Klimenta for a handball after a Valeri Qazaishvili shot struck him on the arm.
That was the closest the inept Earthquakes (2-7-3) came to a shot on goal until the 89th minute, when Bingham got a hand on a long Danny Hoesen strike and deflected it off the crossbar. Alessandrini then cleared the rebound off the line to preserve the victory and give the Galaxy consecutive shutouts for the first time since 2016.
“At halftime we said, ‘Look, just keep it at zero. We’ll find a goal.’ And we found a goal,” Schmid said. “Maybe luck is turning our direction a little bit. Over a season’s time that starts to even out. And hopefully that’s starting to even out.”
Follow Kevin Baxter on Twitter @kbaxter11