LA Galaxy Playoff Picture: Foggy playoff picture starting to clear up

LA Galaxy currently sit in third place, host second place Real Salt Lake Saturday

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Following Sunday’s 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids, this is where the LA Galaxy stand in the MLS playoff chase….

Where the Galaxy stand…

With Sunday’s draw in Colorado, the Galaxy fell into the third spot in the Western Conference due to Real Salt Lake’s 4-0 demolition of Chivas USA. The Galaxy are now in third place with 50 points, two behind Real Salt Lake and 11 behind the first place San Jose Earthquakes, who have 61 on the year. Meanwhile, Seattle Sounders FC is one point behind LA in fourth place while Vancouver Whitecaps FC round out the Western Conference playoff bracket with 39 points. FC Dallas is currently on the outside looking in with 37 points, leaving them in sixth place.

STANDINGS

There was a silver-lining in the weekend, however, as LA is now guaranteed of finishing no lower than fourth in the West because of Seattle’s draw with Vancouver. This development means that LA will host at least one playoff game at The Home Depot Center in either the MLS Knockout Round or the Western Conference Semifinals.

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What’s ahead…

The Galaxy must navigate the league’s hardest schedule down the stretch, but in the difficulty lies an opportunity for LA. If they can pick up three points against second place Real Salt Lake on Oct. 6 at The Home Depot Center, the Galaxy can take sole possession of second place in the Western Conference. The second spot in the West is vital as it would allow them to host the all-important second leg in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Following the match against RSL, LA will receive a brief respite due to the two-week international break, but must resume action on Oct. 21 at Buck Shaw Stadium against the San Jose Earthquakes before closing out the regular season on Oct. 28 against the Seattle Sounders at The Home Depot Center.

What it means…

There is no way to understate the importance of this Saturday’s clash against Real Salt Lake as a win will boost LA’s hopes of finishing in second place in the West. However, a loss would likely resign LA to no better than a third place finish and could see them fall into a taxing Knockout Round game.

If the playoffs ended today…

Western Conference Knockout round: Seattle Sounders FC (Fourth seed) vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (Fifth seed) on either Oct. 31 or Nov. 1.

Western Conference Semifinals: There are two semifinals…

Semifinal No. 1: San Jose Earthquakes (First Seed) vs. Knockout Round winner (Lower seed host first leg on either Nov. 3 or Nov. 4; Higher seed host second leg on either Nov. 7 or Nov. 8)

Semifinal No. 2: Real Salt Lake (Second Seed) vs. 3. LA Galaxy (Third Seed) (Lower seed host first leg on either Nov. 3 or Nov. 4; Higher seed host second leg on either Nov. 7 or Nov. 8)

Western Conference Championship: dates are Nov. 10 or 11 (first leg) and Nov. 17-18 (second leg).

MLS Cup: Dec. 1

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Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com