The exhausted and injury-ravaged Galaxy need rest more than anything else during their two-week midseason break from MLS play. But on Sunday morning, just five days into their vacation, the players found themselves clambering aboard a JetBlue flight to San Jose for Monday night’s U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal against the San Jose Earthquakes.
And given the way things have gone recently for the Galaxy, it came as no surprise when the 65-minute flight out of Long Beach was delayed.
The Galaxy stumbled into the break with three consecutive losses in MLS play, the team’s longest losing streak in six seasons. The last came in the team’s seventh game in 21 days, one the Galaxy entered without 12 players who were lost to injury, suspension or international duty.
They’ll get some of the missing back Monday when Gio dos Santos returns from a month with the Mexican national team. Also making the trip was goalkeeper Brian Rowe, who has been out since May with a groin issue. Midfielder Jermaine Jones (knee) is close to returning as well.
They join a team still smarting from a July 4 loss to Real Salt Lake in which the Galaxy tied a franchise record by allowing six goals.
“I’m embarrassed. I’m pissed at how I played. But it happens,” said defender Ashley Cole, adding that Monday’s game gives the team a chance to erase that feeling.
“It’s a good time to play in the Open Cup,” he said. “It’s not time to panic yet but Monday is for sure a big game for us.”
The Galaxy made it to the quarterfinals with wins over a pair of USL teams in Orange County SC and the Sacramento Republic. Monday’s game in San Jose marks their first of the tournament against an MLS team and first on the road. And if the Galaxy win, their reward will be the addition of another game next month – against the winner of Tuesday’s FC Dallas-Sporting Kansas City quarterfinal -- to an already crowded schedule.
Dallas eliminated the Galaxy in the semifinals last year, winning in overtime en route to its second Open Cup title.