Steve Carrillo

LA Galaxy “fight for a championship” falling well short, according to Cole

Carson, CA. – So much for that LA Galaxy turnaround.

Two consecutive shutouts understandably had the five-time MLS Cup champions feeling good about themselves, but Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to FC Dallas in front of a StubHub Center crowd of 18,003 may have been a harsh lesson in reality.

It also proved correct what veteran left back and team captain Ashley Cole has been saying about the team all season: there is much room for improvement.

“Disappointing,” he said after the Galaxy’s rally featuring two Zlatan Ibrahimovic goals fell short in the club’s seventh loss (5-7-1) of the season. “I think everyone is frustrated.

“Preseason we came here with a lot of new faces; we kind of expected from each other to really, really fight for the championship. There’s still a long way (to go), but at the moment it’s kind of not going our way.

“Every day you see how we train, we train hard, we play well together,” he said. “When it doesn’t work out on the pitch it’s disappointing. Not just me, but I think all the players are disappointed.

“I know individually we can do better. As a team, we can do better, for sure.”

Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid went with a retooled lineup that featured the return of Ibrahimovic from a one-game suspension, rookie Tomas Hilliard-Arce in place of Michael Ciani at center back, Daniel Steres at right back and Cervando Carrasco in midfield. The Galaxy also went with a three-man back line for much of the second half, with Cole moving up to midfield.

“Ema (Boateng) definitely has more legs down the wing,” Cole said. “He (Schmid) just told me to kind of sit in there and play the ball through. I’m thinking when you have someone like Seba (Sebastian Lletget) in between the lines I just to try to find him and give him the ball and let him do the damage.”

Dallas, however, had no trouble with the new-look Galaxy.

Ryan Hollingshead, left alone at the top of the penalty area, scored in the 33rd minute for a 1-0 lead, and Cristian Colman made it 2-0 seven minutes later with a point-blank header of Hollingshead’s cross. It became 3-0 in the 66th minute when Carlos Gruezo headed in a deflected ball after Michael Barrios broke free down the wing.

Ibrahimovic, who had a goal disallowed in the 61st minute on an offside ruling, scored eight minutes later and then in extra time, but it was not enough to assuage Cole’s disappointment with the club’s current state of affairs.

And things don’t get any easier. The Galaxy travel to Portland today for a game on Saturday, followed by a U.S. Open Cup match on Wednesday at home against Whittier-based FC Golden State Force. Then comes a regular-season matchup at StubHub Center next Saturday against Real Salt Lake.

“I think it’s probably good that we’re going again in two or three days,” Cole said. “We have to kind of put this game behind us now because we weren’t good enough, even though we had two goals.

“Portland is going to be a tough game. We have to be together, everyone fight together and we have to start picking up points if we want to … not just the playoffs, this team should be fighting to win it.

“Yeah, we’re fighting for the playoffs,” he went on. “It’s still in our hands but we have to do better as a team.”