They were back in the middle of the defense with usual starters Michael Ciani on the bench and Jorgen Skjelvik unavailable because of the flu. Romney and Steres, in fact, were starting as central defenders for the first time in more than a year and were almost flawless in helping limit Seattle to 14 total shots, including only one on target.
“They’ve obviously played together before,” Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham said, “and tonight they were spot on.”
The last time they were together in the middle of the back line, aside from their former playing days with Galaxy II, was Sept. 10, 2017 in Seattle, where Steres suffered a fractured back but somehow managed to play the full 90 minutes in a 1-1 tie. He missed the remainder of the season and didn’t play again until March 11 of this year in a 2-1 loss to New York City.
Steres had been nursing a strained left calf for the last two weeks, but he was more than ready to go Saturday.
“We were excited when we got the news,” he said of the start. “Dave and I have a good partnership. We know each other well. We know how each other works, so we were expecting to do that today and I think we did well.”
Said Romney, “I think our playing styles work off each other well. I guess today everything worked out really well.”
The shutout was the Galaxy’s first since a 4-0 victory over Columbus on July 7. The Galaxy had allowed 17 goals in their last four matches entering Sunday’s game and ended a seven-game winless streak (0-4-3) in which they had been outscored 23-11.
The timing of the win could not have been better, with the Galaxy’s slim postseason hopes getting a much-needed boost not only with their victory but Vancouver’s 2-1 loss to FC Dallas. The Galaxy (11-11-8) now have 41 points, seventh in the West and just three points behind sixth-place Seattle.
“It was really big for morale and everything,” Romney said. “I think a lot of guys were lacking confidence, to be honest. Hopefully, we can build on this to finish out the season to make the playoffs.
“But we can’t just play one good game again. Like we played good against LAFC, then we had a letdown,” he said, referring to a 1-4-3 slump after rallying to tie their crosstown rival 2-2 on July 24. “We can’t play one good game and then let up against Vancouver (next Saturday).”
Steres said the postseason picture may not look as bleak as it might appear.
“I don’t think we feel out of it at all,” he said. “I know it’s out of our control, but this is the boost we need. I think we’re going to put pressure on Seattle now. They have two losses in a row and we can take over Vancouver next weekend, so a lot of results went our way.
“I think everyone here knows how our league is … it’s a roller coaster. You win some and lose some, but you can go on streaks. Maybe this is the start of the streak we need.
“It’s about getting hot at the end of the season,” he added, “and we’re going to do our part.”