CARSON, Calif. – The Galaxy players refuse to believe the notion that just because their playoff standing cannot change on Sunday there is nothing on the line when they take on Western Conference rival Seattle Sounders FC.
“There is a lot to play for,” Todd Dunivant said. “We’re going into the playoffs and obviously want to be playing well. We haven’t won in our last three games and you want to have a good feeling going into the playoffs. We’ve had an incredible last three months and now we need to keep pushing. This game is another step in that direction.”
While the Galaxy have lost just twice in their last 18 games in all competitions, the club enters Sunday’s regular season finale winless in the league since a 4-2 victory over Toronto FC on Sept. 22 at The Home Depot Center. In their last three games, the Galaxy have gone 0-1-2 while giving up a lead in each of the three games.
In addition to getting back to the winning form that pushed them into the playoffs, LA will hope that the game against Seattle can provide match fitness for injured players who have recently missed games like Dunivant, Landon Donovan, David Beckham and Christian Wilhelmsson. Minutes on Sunday would prevent Beckham and Donovan, who both sat out last weekend’s draw with San Jose, from having to jump straight back into game action next week against Vancouver following almost a month on the sidelines.
For many players, their competitive nature makes taking any game lightly out of the question.
“We’re all professionals and we want to win every game. Every time we go out on the field we want to win. So that is no different,” Wilhelmsson said. “A lot of people are coming to the game and they have the expectation that we are going to perform and do our best, so that’s what we’re going to do and that’s what we have to work for.”
In terms of the standings, the game is much more meaningful for the visiting Sounders. Seattle and Real Salt Lake are currently tied for second place in the West with 56 points each, with the Sounders holding the second seed based on goals scored. After RSL and Vancouver face off on Saturday night, Seattle will know exactly what result they need to secure a second place finish and home-field advantage in the Western Conference Semifinal Series between the two sides.
“Obviously, Seattle has a lot to play for, trying to vie for that two and three spot,” Dunivant said. “So we’re expecting them to give us everything.”
The Galaxy will use the game as an opportunity to build momentum heading into their own playoff matchup – against Vancouver in the Knockout Round at The Home Depot Center on Nov. 1.
“You always want to go out to win a game and to put your best effort out there,” Omar Gonzalez said. “So for us it’s all about fine-tuning things that we need to right before Thursday’s game. It’s a crucial game, because it’s getting close and after Sunday’s game it’s going to be a brand new season, the postseason, playoffs start and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”