All the Frenchman has to do to help him forget about what has transpired in what so far has been a discouraging season is go home to his girlfriend Fiona and nine-month-old daughter Naomi and his frustration is gone.
“When you are in a tough situation,” he said after training this week, “it’s important to have family. They give you smiles. It’s good for your mentality to help you come back the day after and work harder.”
The 29-year-old was last year’s leading scorer with 13 goals and 12 assists in his debut season in Major League Soccer, but an ideal follow-up has been hard to come by. He has only one goal, in the season opener against Portland on March 4, and did not record his first assist until last week against FC Dallas.
A right hamstring injury forced him to miss three games, but he has started the last six in a row and said the leg finally “is 100 percent.”
He said he remains confident despite the downturn in his output.
“It’s very frustrating,” he said. “I think I had a good preseason and after the first game, I hurt my hamstring for four or five weeks. After that it was like another preseason; the fitness wasn’t so good and the team didn’t play the way I expected it to. It was a little hard for everyone, especially me.
“When you don’t score or get assists sometimes you force things a little bit in your play. You want to give more, but that’s not your game. I need to keep calm and work hard every day. I got an assist this week and I hit the post, too. I need a little bit of luck and maybe a little confidence, too.
“We’ll see what happens,” he went on. “I have a lot of confidence in myself and I know I can give more for the team.”
JOIN THE CROWD
The Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic recently was asked for his biggest surprise about living in Southern California, and he made fun of the driving habits of area residents. But look who’s talking now.
The Swedish international officially became one of them this week when he passed his driver’s exam. Asked how many questions he missed, he smiled and replied, “Zlatan never misses.”
“Impossible to miss,” he went on with a grin. “It’s the system that fails me, not me fails the system. It was not easy, but you need to do it and follow the law.”
A reporter then asked if Ibrahimovic could parallel park.
“I think the car parks by itself,” he said. “Just press one button and it goes by itself. It’s fantastic. Just get a Volvo and you will manage it also.”
Jonathan dos Santos, who was kneed on the back of his right leg in last weekend’s loss to FC Dallas, appears ready to go for Monday’s game in Montreal.
He participated in full training the last two days at StubHub Center and Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid sees no problems playing the midfielder.
Giovani dos Santos, however, is another matter. He did not play in the loss to FC Dallas and his status is unclear for Montreal because of what Schmid said was a mild hamstring injury.
“I don’t know right now, it’s probably 50-50 as to whether he’ll play or not play,” he said. “We think he’s going to be ready for sure for the San Jose game on the 25th, but we have to see about Monday.”
Schmid also said the dos Santos brothers would be available for the San Jose game before they depart for Russia to fulfill duties with the Mexican national team. They were named to that country’s preliminary World Cup roster earlier this week.
STAYING THE COURSE
Galaxy president Chris Klein admitted the season has been tough to deal with, but his confidence has yet to waver. And to the team’s growing number of detractors, he said for them to go ahead and speak their minds.
“People are always going to talk. That’s part of it,” he said. “You’d rather be undefeated at this point and have everyone say, ‘Wow, look at all the amazing things you’re doing.’
“Major League Soccer has its ups and downs over the course of the season, and you try to put yourself in position to make a run at the end.”
Ola Kamara, who has scored in his last three games, said he doesn’t pay attention to the criticism. Kamara came to the Galaxy in an off-season trade with the Columbus Crew and is hopeful better days are ahead for the five-time MLS Cup champions.
“To be honest, I tune that stuff out,” he said of the team’s critics. “For us it’s only one-third of the season gone, there’s two-thirds left. There’s time to start doing something and turn this around. If we can do that now it’s still going to be a good season.
“I know last season with Columbus, we had ups and downs the first half of the season, but then we got some momentum heading into the playoffs and it’s all different. If you do that, then nobody’s talking about what you did in, say, March or April. Or May.
“Now it’s a matter of coming together as a group and showing some passion and then doing the fighting,” he continued. “Right now we have to show that.”