CARSON, Calif. – The Galaxy have not been scored on for 226 minutes, a testament to a defense that turned in its second consecutive shutout with a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Goalkeeper David Bingham and backliners Jorgen Skjelvik, Diego Polenta, Dan Steres and Rolf Feltscher justifiably are getting much of the credit for a defense that has allowed only six goals in six games. But don’t forget the collective efforts of the club’s revamped midfield that features Joe Corona, Jonathan dos Santos, Sebastian Lletget and Uriel Antuna, a group that continues to make things difficult for opponents to find space to operate.
“I’m very happy to share the midfield with great players like Joe and Sebastian,” dos Santos told reporters after the game. “I played with Sebastian in the midfield last season and, with Joe included, it gives us an extra plus.
“It makes us more dynamic and makes the midfield have more quality. It’s a midfield we can enjoy. I am enjoying it a lot having my two teammates play in front of me. They help out in every way which allows me to play better and become a better player.”
Dos Santos has been particularly impressive since arguably the second half of last season. And now with Lletget finally healthy, the speedy Antuna a welcome addition on a year-long loan from English side Manchester City, and Corona coming in from Liga MX club Club Tijuana, he has been at the top of his game.
“I feel really good, honestly,” he said. “I feel good physically. The team is also helping out a lot. It’s not easy winning five games out of six.”
The club’s latest victory stretched the Galaxy’s unbeaten streak to four games, but it didn’t come easily. Head coach Guillermo Barros Schellotto and his players bemoaned the team’s disappointing second-half performance and the fact the club failed to add to its lead despite having a man advantage when the Union’s Auston Trusty was red-carded in the 76th minute for what was called “unsporting behavior.”
The failure to take command in the final 45 minutes – “We cannot relax like this,” a visibly perturbed Zlatan Ibrahimovic said after the game — was not lost on the Mexican international.
“We needed to have more possession, be more aggressive and more determined,” dos Santos said. “I’ll stay with the positives today. The team in general is doing great, and I’m happy that the team is doing so well.
“I am very proud of the team. It’s not easy starting the season with a new coach, new teammates and after the past two seasons where the Galaxy wasn’t in a place where we started.
“This is Galaxy,” he continued, “and we are demonstrating it now.”