Don’t look now, but the Los Angeles Galaxy won two in a row, and suddenly everyone’s all “they’re back!” Landon Donovan and co. still sit eight points behind the Western Conference’s No. 4 team, Seattle Sounders FC, but they are only four points back of the Chicago Fire, who currently hold the final playoff spot. (The Fire have a game in hand, as do some of the other teams between the Galaxy and the promised playoff land.) (UPDATE: As tylerbetts points out in the comments, the Galaxy only need to finish 5th in the West to make the playoffs. They are only two points back of the Rapids.)
So here’s the question: Will Bruce and the boys make it to the postseason to defend their title?
A look at the upcoming schedule might help:
6/23 v. Vancouver Whitecaps (Home): Jay Demerit’s club is third in the west, but only 2-2-2 on the road.
PST prediction: W
6/30 v. San Jose Earthquakes (Away): The Quakes are flat good, but LA’s on a roll.
PST prediction: D
7/4 v. Philadelphia Union (Home): The Union are 1-4-1 on the road. Also: bad.
PST prediction: W
From here, the schedule gets tricky. In the 33 days between July 4 (fireworks!) and August 5, the Galaxy play nine games. That’s a bunch, especially in the heat of the summer and especially for a team of older stars. Granted, two of those matches are exhibitions with Tottenham and Real Madrid, but the fans and the league office will expect Arena to play his stars.
Additionally, five of the six MLS matches over that stretch are away from the friendly confines of Home Depot Center, as are the squad’s two games after that. In fact, between July 5 and August 25, the Galaxy play an MLS game at home exactly one time. And it’s against Chivas USA. Tough break, dudes.
Break it down: The Galaxy certainly can make the playoffs. They have the best talent in the league and the best coach as well. They are perfectly capable of reeling off a string of four, five, six wins in a row. But despite the two-game win streak, the odds they make the playoffs are still against them. There are too many other factors at work. The league is more fun when the Galaxy are in the playoffs, but don’t hold your breath.