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Galaxy still has work to do despite 5-game unbeaten streak – Long Beach Press Telegram

On one hand, the Galaxy appear to be headed in the right direction.

The Galaxy (11-11-6, 39) head to face Nashville SC (12:30 p.m., TUDN) on a five-game unbeaten streak, the longest of the season. However, the Galaxy are still below the playoff line in the Western Conference, three points behind seventh-place Portland.

“We’re five games unbeaten, I always like to look at the bright side of things,” midfielder Sacha Kljestan said. “We wished we would have had a few more points in there. We’ve led in all five of those games, so we’ve dropped some points for sure.

“We know that we’re battling all of these teams as we finish the season. Most of them are also battling for playoff spots. Some of them will probably be desperate as the season goes on. I think we just have to remain very disciplined in games because in the end of game, especially against teams that are desperate, it can be chaotic.”

The Galaxy had a 2-0 lead against Seattle (Aug. 19) and settled for a 3-3 draw. Against Toronto FC (Aug. 31), the Galaxy had a 1-0 lead at halftime and needed an 89th-minute goal from Riqui Puig to salvage a point with a 2-2 draw. Last Sunday, the Galaxy appeared on the verge of a 3-2 victory, but Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez failed to convert the penalty kick, leaving things tied at 2-2.

“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs,” Kljestan said. “We have not really had a long run of consistent games where the performances have been good and the results have been good. It’s been frustrating for a lot of people because I think that we all can agree that we have a lot more talent and I think we all think we should be higher in the table.

“Obviously, the points don’t lie, we are where we are and that’s a fact and we have to face the music and be ready to go. Right now, I feel like we’ve found a little bit of consistency, a little bit more grit, even though we’ve given up maybe a few too many goals in this stretch, I think we’ve started to defend better as a team again, like we did at the very beginning of the season. I think in the middle of the season we weren’t defending as a team very well, we were taking a few liberties and now I think that discipline is back. Once we get that 1-0 lead, we can’t let teams back in the game.”

The Galaxy has missed the playoffs the last two seasons and four of the last five years. The last three-year stretch of missing the playoffs came in 2006-2008.

“It takes that determination from everybody on the field, to know there are six games left, the playoffs are on the line, so every play matters,” Kljestan said. “It should have been like that the entire season and maybe we’ve had moments where we’ve taken off during the season, but right now, it’s all about the discipline and no plays off now.

“I know very well that the Galaxy over the last five, six years has not been what the Galaxy was in the first two decades of MLS and all the success we’ve had as a club. That’s not good enough, nowhere near good enough. The playoffs should be an absolute minimum and to miss the playoffs that many times is a big indictment on all of us that have been here. I feel like it’s a big stain on my career and I hope the other players feel that embarrassment as well that we owe so much more to this club and to these fans and I hope we get it right at the end of the season.”

Mark Delgado makes his return

Midfielder Mark Delgado missed the Galaxy’s two-game road trip to New England and Toronto FC, with what was initially labeled “Non-Covid Related Health & Safety Protocol.”

Delgado, who made his return in the Galaxy’s 2-2 draw last Sunday against Sporting Kansas City described what was wrong.

“It is basically a neurological dysfunction that’s going on and that’s causing concussion symptoms,” Delgado said Thursday. “I’m feeling a little better. Taking it day-by-day. I still am dealing with it, but it is getting better.”

“It was good to be back out there. … I was a little nervous because I didn’t want the symptoms to come back, but it felt good to be back out there,” he said.