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Monday Morning Centerback: Can the Galaxy reach the playoffs?


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Don’t call it a comeback. At least not yet.

The Los Angeles Galaxy’s 5-2 drubbing of D.C. United raised plenty of questions about D.C. (again) but it also raised the question of whether Bruce Arena, Landon Donovan and David Beckham could help LA secure its first playoff berth in three years.

Yes, I know, on some level it seems absurd to talk about a team making a playoff push when it has just won its first game in three months, but this is Major League Soccer, where the Western Conference (save for Houston) has been a masterpiece of mediocrity, leaving the door open for the Galaxy to fight back into the playoff race.

The Galaxy’s win has pushed LA to within two points of third place in the West. The tougher part for LA will be leapfrogging the teams ahead of it in the standings. Can the Galaxy do it? Can LA complete a turnaround?

It won’t be easy, but it is possible.

How can it be possible? It is possible because the Galaxy boasts a virtually unstoppable offense that will keep it in almost any game. It is possible because Arena, Donovan and Beckham can make it possible. it is possible because two points isn’t that much ground to make up, even if there are three other teams trying to make the same climb.

It will only be possible if Arena sorts out a defense that has allowed at least two goals in eight of its past nine gams. No, this isn’t a new problem, but it is up to Arena to solve it. Having rookie Sean Franklin healthy is a big help, but the lack of size in the back is a problem.

So what lies ahead for the Galaxy? Here is the schedule of remaining games, and it isn’t exactly easy:

  • Thursday- at Chicago
  • 10/4- at Columbus
  • 10/12- vs. Colorado
  • 10/18- at Houston
  • 10/26 vs. FC Dallas

It’s not unfair to suggest that LA needs nine points from these matches to have a realistic chance of qualifying for the playoffs. That’s three wins, or two wins and three ties. Road games at Columbus and Houston will be extremely difficult, but the other three games on the schedule are manageable. You might think that’s not the case at Chicago, but the Fire has been vulnerable at home, as evidenced by Sunday’s 4-1 thrashing against FC Dallas. A win Thursday and a win against Colorado could set up LA for a win-and-in scenario at home against Dallas.

The only problem with the Colorado game is the fact that it falls on an international fixture date. Will Bob Bradley let Donovan skip the qualifier against Cuba? Is David Beckham ready to tell Fabio Capello he’s more interested in staying in LA then flying halfway around the world to watch Theo Walcott run circles around opposing defenses? If LA has Beckham and Donovan the rest of the way, pulling off a playoff run isn’t impossible.

It’s time for a poll:

What do you think? Will the Galaxy find a way to sneak into the playoffs? Share your thoughts below.

(Also, apologies for the late posting of MMCB, but it should be noted that it is still technically morning in California.)


  1. The best part about my above response, is that somehow I typed Faux Fur and Soccer Shirts name. This gross act of incompetence declares Faux Fur and Soccer Shirts the winner.

    The above post is from Ethan, and not from Faux Fur. I’m not sure how that happened, but I am impressed with my own incompotence. 🙂

  2. Faux Fur:

    I actually did answer your question, but the answer was implied. It seems you need it spelled out for you…so I guess I can spell it out

    You asked “who’s to say that LA’s horrible summer form wasn’t there (sic) true selves, and their decent spring start wasn’t the anomaly (and I’m not saying that it was?)

    The way you phrased the question calls for a person, so I guess I didn’t really answer that, and I also don’t have an answer for it. The answer is not me. For the question I think you meant to ask, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. They aren’t as bad as they were in the last 12 games, and they aren’t as good as they were in the first 12 games. My point the entire time has been simply that they aren’t as bad as some would make them out to be. I would not be surprised to see them make the playoffs. I would not be surprised to see them not make the play-offs, but some people on this board act as if they lost all 12 games by 3 goals more or more, when in fact, 10 of those games were decided by 1 goal or less, and 6 of them were ties. Still, 6 points in 12 games is atrocious. No one would debate otherwise.

    25 games is not a big enough sample size. The league dictated that there would be 30 games. That is the adequate sample size. We will see what happens. They are 4 points away from 2nd place in the West. Anything can happen.

    I’m alright with your stubbornness Faux Fur, but I’m not okay with your inability to understand simple logic, or to understand the things that you read. You wrote, “THEN you tell me that being pragmatic in this case of LA going on a hot streak is a bad thing.”

    I did not say that Mr. Fur. I wrote, “If someone gave you a million dollars, then you would be a millionaire. That is a true statement. Probability has nothing to do with it, and neither does pragmatism.”

    The point of the above statement is that a true statement is true regardless of pragmatism or probability.

    I actually never suggested that LA would go on a hot streak unless their offense was as dominant as it was on Saturday or its defense stepped up. Now, I think experts would agree that if LA scores 5 goals in each of the last 5 games, or allows 1 or less per game, they will make the playoffs. Would you argue that too?

    For the record, I’m an MLS fan. I watch any game that is on TV. LA is on TV a lot, so I’ve seen them a fair bit this season, but I wouldn’t describe myself as an LA fan.

  3. Highly doubtful. Bradley will call in Donovan and Lewis, Beckham will travel for England, and there goes all the intelligent ball movement, precise mid-range passing, and switching the point of attack that was on display against DC.

    Colorado is quite mediocre, but at home and at altitude they should have no real trouble with a Galaxy team that will include Bryan Jordan for Beckham, Ely Allen for Lewis, and Pete Vagenas or Alvaro Pires for Donovan. A loss to Colorado in that game pretty much kills LA’s season unless they win 2 of their 3 road games. Chicago is actually reasonable, considering the Fire’s slump at both ends of the field, but even a tired Houston side should handle LA by dictating how the game is played (the Dynamo will go more direct, putting Franklin and Roberts under constant pressure, and LA will bleed goals). Columbus, if they maintain anything close to their current form, should be able to hang 4 or more on LA with relative ease.

  4. MLS will have to step in a throw some games. The Galaxy HAVE to make it to the playoffs. It’s just good marketing to have the league’s best player in the playoffs and I just don’t see the Galaxy pulling it off without some help from the officiating crew.

  5. Sorry, Ethan…I’m too stubborn to drop this one now.

    You ignored my question, so I’ll repeat it: Who’s to say that LA’s horrible summer form wasn’t there true selves, and their decent spring start wasn’t the anomaly (and I’m not saying that it was)?

    You make it sound like 25 games into a 30 game season isn’t a big enough sample size to see how good LA is (or isn’t).

    All you did was take the conveniently clustered results that fit the story you felt like telling…and THEN you tell me that being pragmatic in this case of LA going on a hot streak is a bad thing.

    You, sir…are a mad man. Galaxy Fans…the American Gooners. Completely insane. All of them.

  6. I have been running my mouth to anyone that will listen to me. The Galaxy will make the playoffs. I even asked Ives just to see if he believed in the little bit magic that Hollywood cooks up. No one thought that we could do it and now people are at the very least beginning to question whether or not we can make the post season. I’m just happy to hear people saying somewhat positive things about my club.

  7. Faux Fur and Soccer Shirts:

    I think you are failing to understand simple logic. If someone gave you a million dollars, then you would be a millionaire. That is a true statement. Probability has nothing to do with it, and neither does pragmatism.

    More pertinent, my point regarding the Galaxy stands undeterred by your faulty logic. The Galaxy aren’t as bad as the last 12 games suggest. They don’t deserve 40 points, and it was not my original intent to say that it did.

    Good day.

  8. The Galaxy really have had gaping holes in midfield all season – Franchione and Vagenas are the worst tandem in the league (one is way too old to cover enough ground and the other lacks any touch or vision. Wait, I mean both).

    That being said, they have the best offense in the league. The quarter of Beckham, Lewis, Donovan, and Buddle have been great.

  9. My hope is that we do make the playoffs. Like everyone knows though, Beckham still thinks that he can fend off Wallcott for his spot. Until Becks accepts that role he is going to be a super sub and come in at 80+ down 1 nil and be the guy to step up and hit outside free kicks and lob ball into the middle…what a waste of our (LA Galaxy) money that is, but oh well. I think that Bradley might give Donovan the night off, but Beckham is as good as gone if Capello calls him up. If we lose Beckham for any of these games it throws off the balance of the midfield and we are cooked. COME ONNN LAAAA.

  10. All you that voted no quit hating. You guys are the ones pulling for us not to make. You’ll see. Stop hating.and we’ll make it & win the MLS Cup get a berth in CCL and rep MLS well even better than the rest of the crappy teams that are in it this year.

    Rando, what does “hating” have to do with the Galaxy’s ability on the field? Do you think if the “haters” stopped “hating” that the Galaxy would have a better chance?

    What, you believe in voodoo? Or do you work for Galaxy P.R.?

  11. If this were boxing we would say the G’s have a puncher’s chance. LA can score, and they could easily get hot and unload on some of these opponents. With Lewis, Beckham, and an in-form Donovan they have a shot.

    Realistically, though…they are overmatched against most of these teams, especially on the road. I hope I am wrong, but I don’t think they can make it.

    Bradley should give some younger guys shots in WC qualifying, and let LA make a full strength push for the playoffs.

  12. LA will make the playoffs IF

    neither Cronin nor Wicks are in goal – aka Saunders or the MLS reserve pool keeper can’t be worse !

    Becks finally ups his game!

  13. Tom P – I agree 100%. Their games are so fun to watch. I would love to see them make the playoffs for pure entertainment value. I look forward to their match up with Columbus.

    We are talking about the west where EVERY team has tanked it at some point and EVERY team has looked like next team to beat the Revs in the final. Anything can happen. To say it’s going to take a miracle means you haven’t paid attention to the western conference this season.

  14. Ethan:

    If you don’t see how crazy your “if” is, then I don’t know how to help you. It’s like saying “If someone handed me a million dollars, I’d be a millionaire” . . .well, no s***. There’s nothing “fact” about that, it’s a possibility, and an amazingly remote one at that.

    I’ll take it a step further, just for giggles. Who’s to say that LA’s horrible summer form wasn’t there’s true selves, and their decent spring start wasn’t the anomaly? You can’t just pick the part of the story that goes along with what you want and call it a “fact”.

  15. I hope they do because love them,hate them, or like me don’t feel strongly either way, they are hands down the most entertaining team besides the Crew in MLS by far.

  16. All you that voted no quit hating. You guys are the ones pulling for us not to make. You’ll see. Stop hating.and we’ll make it & win the MLS Cup get a berth in CCL and rep MLS well even better than the rest of the crappy teams that are in it this year.

  17. “but this is Major League Soccer, where the Western Conference (save for Houston AND LATELY SAN JOSE) has been a masterpiece of mediocrity”

    Fixed your post

  18. The big problems for the Galaxy this season has been their defense and their goalkeeping, and it’s hard to imagine them finding solutions to those problems this season. I would love to see the Galaxy get out of the circus they always find themselves mired in and become a true force in MLS. They have the potential, but they have a long road ahead of them.

  19. Faux Fur and Soccer Shirts:

    My point was that through 12 games they were decent despite the fact that their defense sucked.

    As for the “Help me Jeebus” comment, the analogy is not appropriate for one, because I was not suggesting a miracle, but merely stating a fact. If LA had played as well in the second 12 as they did in the first, they’d be among the top teams in the league. No miracle involved, simply a fact.

    And even if your analogy was appropriate in that respect, Jesus did turn water into wine.

  20. I would never claim that LA is a good team, but I still think they have an outside chance. If their defense can limit the opposition to 2 or 3 goals, and Donovan can continue his scoring form and keep providing excellent assists, then it might be possible. Beckham also needs to step up.

    Funny how the Donovan detractors still haven’t shut up (those who were making claims that Donovan only scores from the pk spot). 19 goals, 8 assists: it’s time to concede!

  21. Ethan Helm:

    “LA was 6-4-2 through 12 games. That’s 20 points, and if the continued on that pace, they’d have 40 points in 24 games, which would have been 3rd best in the MLS.”

    LOL repeatedly.

    I think that idea goes way beyond a normal “if”. That’s some water-to-wine, “Help me Jeebus” level stuff.

  22. I just don’t see it happening. Maybe if Bradley doesn’t call in Donovan and Lewis, and Capello realizes Beckham should no longer be getting capped there is an outside chance.

  23. No the galaxy are not going to make the playoffs because it’s only a matter of time before eddie lewis, landon donovan and david beckham leave for international duty. Also, and that is a big also, don’t forget they were in their home ground.

  24. I think the first post about LAG being a good team is laughable. This is a team with a winning streak of 1 game and has probably played the worst soccer of any team in MLS the past 2 months.

    I think whether or not LAG makes the playoffs is mostly out of their hands:

    –they need the 5th team in the East to tank badly (so it’s 4 teams in the West, not 3)

    –they need Colorado to revert to form (and right now they’re playing well)

    –they need Chicago to play badly and also give up multiple goals.

    And oh yeah, they need to get results from a bunch of road matches.

  25. LA was 6-4-2 through 12 games. That’s 20 points, and if the continued on that pace, they’d have 40 points in 24 games, which would have been 3rd best in the MLS.

    They are not as bad as people seem to think. They do have the best offense and the worst defense in the league (making them far and away the most entertaining team to watch in the league).

    If there defense can step it up, or their offense can play like they did on Saturday for the rest of the season, they have a great shot at the playoffs.

  26. The Galaxy won’t make the playoffs, MLS support or no MLS support. The club has road games in Chicago, Columbus and Houston — teams with far better defenses than D.C. United.

    Yes, Lewis and Donovan add punch to the midfield’s offense. But central midfield is still a defensive sieve. Gordon is not the most reliable striker in the world. Buddle still misses more chances than he makes. Vanney and Klein are still vastly outclassed as defenders. The Galaxy has no speed or depth, and no room under the salary cap to manipulate.

  27. I hope they make the playoffs. A great attack and a amateurish defense makes the Galaxy one of the most entertaining teams to watch. It would be fun to see some high scoring playoff games.

  28. Well, Ives, you were right on your prediction on Friday: the Los Angeles v DC United was an exciting game to watch with alot of scoring.

    The prospects for the Galaxy for the rest of the season? Although I would like to see them make the playoffs, I think the odds are low for two reasons: 1. Despite a very strong offense, our defense is still prone to amazing moments of defensive breakdown that a good team will exploit. Or even a mediocre team. See, for example, the recent Kansas City game with two goals in almost two minutes. 2. We will probably have one if not two games with out the great offense, thereby exposing our second foible: no depth in the offense.

    As a Galaxy fan, I am just happy to see some improvements. Plus, a win! However the season ends, I have hopes that some off season changes will beef up the defense. And even if we lose Donovan (I hope not, but I think a trip to Europe is a smart career move if available), the salary that frees up would help build a more balanced team.

  29. “(Also, apologies for the late posting of MMCB, but it should be noted that it is still technically morning in California.)”

    Hey, we’re still waiting for MM*C*B… You’ve got the MM*Q*B posted 🙂

  30. Unfortunately, Beckham’s committment isn’t to anything other than himself. I was a big fan up until this year. He’ll take the trip and leave the team that pays a good chunk of his bills behind.

  31. LA might catch Houston at the right time. Houston will be playing a lot of games in the next month, including the games that were postponed due to Ike. If Houston has clinched first place by 10/18, it might be resting some of its top players.

    If LA can get two points from the Columbus and Chicago games, it has a great chance. Otherwise, I don’t see them winning three of the last four games to get the nine points you project them needing.

  32. I’m not a Galaxy fan, so haven’t watched a ton of their games, but after watching the game Saturday night, I don’t understand how they could have such an awful record.

    In any case, I hope they make the Playoffs – the league could really benefit from a playoff run by Beckham, Donovan & co. OTOH, if Beckham doesn’t make the Playoffs for the second year running, I think it’s going to harm the league’s credibility – it will look like Beckham is solely a celebrity addition to the league and not a credible soccer player anymore.

  33. Nice breakdown Ives. The Colorado game is a MUST WIN if they have any chance of making it to the playoffs. If they should be able to get Donovan in that game but i doubt Beckham will be there.

  34. “…but this is Major League Soccer…” says it all.

    Not only that, but the league office wants L.A. to win a championship, as has been made more than painfully obvious since Beckham’s arrival and all the rule-changing/breaking, blah blah blah.

    I hope the Galaxy miss the playoffs, but wouldn’t be surprised to see some new rule come out that guarantees them a playoff spot every single year.

    Luis, are you blind? One of the best teams in the league? By “best” do you mean “worst?” Because worst makes actual sense to anyone who can see.

  35. Galaxy will miss playoffs. Donovan will transfer in the off-season to either a German club or a Spanish club. Galaxy will make a swoop for Michael Owen (kidding!);)


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