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Galaxy struggles — but not too much — without Landon Donovan, David Beckham

Galaxy goes unbeaten in eight games in which Landon Donovan and David Beckham haven't played together, but the statistics show a diminished team.

July 09, 2011|By Douglas Farmer | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
  • Landon Donovan, left, and David Beckham have not played together for the Galaxy in the last eight weeks,, the team has won four games and drawn four games during that span.
Landon Donovan, left, and David Beckham have not played together for the… (David Livingston / Getty…)

The last time Galaxy forward Landon Donovan and midfielder David Beckham played a full 90 minutes together was May 14, when the two combined to score three goals.

But since then, Donovan has left for, and since returned from, a month of international duty in the Gold Cup while Beckham is now battling a back injury. In those eight weeks, the Galaxy has won four games and drawn four games, extending its unbeaten streak to 11.

"If you put together the number of games that the key players have missed," Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena said, "and at the end of all of this we're still the team with the most points in the league, it isn't that bad."

Even with Donovan back in the starting lineup Monday in a scoreless draw against the Seattle Sounders, the Galaxy lacked the spark and cohesiveness that were once its trademarks.

"Our attitude and energy have to be better," Donovan said. "Fortunately, we're a good enough team we can get through nights like that and get a result and get a point out of it."

Donovan leads the Galaxy in goals scored with eight, even though he has played in only 12 of the 20 games this season, and Beckham's six assists in 15 games lead the team as well.

"You expect that players you are using that designation on and spending that kind of money on to make a difference," Donovan said. "So when we're not on the field it's going to hurt the club a little bit."

Without the leaders, the Galaxy has struggled to score with frequency, tallying only eight goals in the last eight games. To open the season, the team scored 17 times in 12 games.

"It's disappointing when we can't be on the field at the same time due to injury or suspension or whatever it is," Beckham said. "We're happy that we haven't lost in those games, but we're also not happy that we haven't finished teams off when we thought we should be finishing teams off."

That being said, the Galaxy still held that 11-match unbeaten streak, which includes six ties, before Saturday's game against the Chicago Fire.

"It's life," Arena said of the high number of draws. "It's better than losing."

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