The LA Galaxy travel to Real Salt Lake on Saturday night. They have now slipped below the playoff line and could miss out on the postseason. As Zlatan knows, the season is on the line.
It’s been a horrific run for Los Angeles Galaxy. A run of six games without a win, including three successive games in which they ceded a lead, dropping seven out of nine points in those games, has seen them slip out of the top six, on the outside looking in at the prospective playoff places.
Their position in the standings was a little misleading because of the greater number of games they had played, and perhaps they were standing higher than their performances deserved, but it is still a disastrous run at a critical point in the season.
As a result, the LA Galaxy now sit in seventh position. They have played two more games than the Seattle Sounders, who are steaming up the standings, and could slip further behind if the Vancouver Whitecaps can win their game in hand,
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In fact, their chance for a playoff place is most likely a battle for one spot between three teams: the Galaxy and the Whitecaps, who are currently chasing, and Real Salt Lake, who are actually all the way up in fourth. Salt Lake have played the same number of games as the Galaxy and will fall behind both the Sounders and the Portland Timbers if both teams win just one of their two games in hand.
It spells trouble for the Galaxy. But they are also given a lifeline. On Saturday night, they travel to Real Salt Lake. It is a chance for them to stem the downward tide, right the recent wrongs, and re-establish themselves in the playoff race.
"“Yeah, this is an important game. I don’t say win or lose, because we have another six [matches] after this game, so you never know what happens. But it’s time to get the points if we want to reach the objectives we put in the beginning of the season.”"
Zlatan may try to play down the importance of this match by heightening the importance of the other remaining matches (this is a fairly clear logical fallacy, assuming that another match’s importance has an impact on the importance of the first match). But even he cannot deny that if the Galaxy do have hopes of making the playoffs, this is a must-win fixture.
Even a draw would leave LA in all sorts of trouble. Vancouver host the San Jose Earthquakes and will be looking to win and leapfrog the Galaxy and the gap to RSL would remain at three points. Given that the Galaxy still have Toronto, Seattle, Sporting KC and Vancouver themselves to play, they cannot be expected to claw that gap back.
The season is indeed on the line for LA Galaxy. Zlatan knows it. The fans know it. The whole club knows it. This is must-win.