Having just missed out on a perfect June, the Los Angeles Galaxy have good reason to think July will start well even without David Beckham on the field.
Before a big Independence Day fireworks show, the Galaxy might get to see the season debut of defender Omar Gonzalez on Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Union.
This matchup being at The Home Depot Center - and in front of a crowd celebrating the July 4th holiday - appears to give Los Angeles (6-9-2) a big edge.
While the Galaxy have won their last two home games by a combined 4-0 score, the Union have scored four goals on the road all season while going 1-5-1. Plus, Philadelphia has never beaten Los Angeles (0-3-1) and has lost its only two road matches in the series.
The Galaxy have scored three goals in three consecutive matches, a total the Union (3-9-2) have reached in only one game this year.
However, that wasn't enough for Los Angeles on Saturday, wasting a two-goal lead in a 4-3 loss at San Jose. The Galaxy had won their first three games in June but were denied their first perfect month since September 2002.
"I think we're still OK with the attitude we have, the way we're playing and we just gotta turn it around," said Landon Donovan, who scored his team-leading sixth goal - four of which have come in the past three games. "We got a big one on Wednesday."
They might also have a key player back. Gonzalez, the league's reigning defender of the year, was activated Tuesday and could face the Union after missing the first half of the season when he tore a ligament in his left knee during training in January.
They could certainly use him after Saturday's performance. Goalkeeper Josh Saunders had a five-game winning streak snapped as Los Angeles allowed its most goals since a 4-1 defeat at Real Salt Lake on March 26, 2011.
"Anytime you give up four goals regardless of how they come, you're not doing your job and that was disappointing," defender Todd Dunivant said.
Beckham is dealing with plenty of disappointment.
He learned last week he was left off Great Britain's team for the London Olympics. Beckham scored on a free kick Saturday, but he was given a yellow card in second-half stoppage time for hitting an opposing player with a ball kicked from the sideline. He is suspended for this game due to yellow-card accumulation.
One player who should be on the field is Philadelphia's Jack McInerney, who missed Saturday's 2-1 loss at Houston due to a stomach illness. McInerney had two goals a week earlier in the Union's previous league game, a 4-0 victory over Kansas City, and scored one in last Tuesday's 5-2 U.S. Open Cup win over the Harrisburg City Islanders.
Saturday's loss was decided on a penalty kick after a controversial call in the 83rd minute. It certainly appears interim coach John Hackworth, who took over after Peter Nowak was fired June 13, has Philadelphia playing better.
"Soccer is a game of mistakes, and I don't want them to feel or think about making a mistake," Hackworth told the team's official website. "What I want them to think about are reactions. When we make a mistake, how quickly do we respond to it? The way we're playing, it's so important that we do that."