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Galaxy heads into U.S. Open Cup clash with LAFC still looking to turn things around

After a two-stop winless, goalless road trip, the Galaxy has to turn attention to the U.S. Open Cup for Tuesday night’s Round of 16 clash with rival LAFC.

“Being on the road is very difficult, we on the east, it’s no excuses, but we don’t play that much with them, it’s a different atmosphere, the travel is far,” Galaxy forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez said. “We have an amazing opportunity (against LAFC) to get back … and also looking ahead to Saturday.

“These games, these knockout games, are about winning. It’s about 90 minutes and being engaged for 90 minutes and hopefully we can do that.”

The teams met last month in league play with LAFC winning, 3-2.

“I think we played very well on the day, probably better than them in many scenarios, but in those situations, we have to come away with results,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said.

Entering this meeting, the teams are on opposite ends of the Western Conference standings, with LAFC on top and the Galaxy at the bottom. The game will be played at BMO Stadium (7:30 p.m., CBS Sports Golazo Network).

“As we come back here, it’s always energizing to play your rival from across the street,” Vanney said. “It’s a knockout game, it’s a competition, the expectation for us is an emotional sort of resurgence, coming off of a road trip, being back home against them.

“We need to get our energy levels back up and execute through the course of the game, and again, I feel like whenever we play LAFC, we actually play well, but we concede goals in ways that are going to hurt you against a really good team. It was the same the last time. We need to be ready to play.”

The teams met at this stage in last year’s tournament. The Galaxy won that meeting, 3-1 to advance to the quarterfinals, where they were upset by Sacramento Republic.

This year, the Galaxy is still in search of a boost to an otherwise struggle of a season. Through 13 games, the Galaxy has a 2-8-3 record, the worst start in club history.

Is there a way out of the current poor form?

“It has been very difficult,” Hernandez said. “We’re are navigating … taking it, embracing it, trusting in each other and sticking together is what is going to make the difference.

“I believe in this team, I believe in this organization. Hopefully, we can get some good momentum like last year. Hopefully, we can make it soon so we can have a good run of games and results. I don’t think the hard work or the tactics are a problem, it’s more about the mental and emotion about this situation.

“If you don’t believe in yourself and if you don’t stick together, if you don’t keep working hard and if you don’t keep investing … that’s the tricky part because when things are not great, it’s very easy to give up, but this organization is not going to give up. Hopefully, we can have a good result (against LAFC) and we have a great opportunity in a good competition.”

Although the game is being played close to home, it is a road game and the Galaxy and road games haven’t mixed well this season. The club is winless (0-5-2) on the road with only one goal scored.

“If you score one goal, you need to maintain calm and have the same shape as before and the same if you concede,” Hernandez said. “You need to be calm and best shape as possible. It’s about the response. Like in life, it’s not about what happens to you, it’s how you respond and I think we need to respond better in both situations.”

GALAXY AT LAFC

What: U.S. Open Cup, Round of 16

When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: BMO Stadium

TV/radio: CBS Sports Golazo Network, 710 AM, 980 AM

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