The Galaxy wraps up the regular season Sunday against FC Dallas. While the game means a lot for FC Dallas (they’re in the hunt for the Supporters’ Shield), things are the opposite for the Galaxy.
Bruce Arena that the lineup that he sends out will have a different look.
“Clearly, we’ll play a few different players, how many remains to be seen,” he said Wednesday.
Three players we will likely not see are Robbie Keane (hip flexor), Steven Gerrard (hamstring) and Gyasi Zardes (foot). Keane and Gerrard stayed behind and didn’t make the trip to Houston last week. Zardes has been rehabbing from his foot surgery.
“They’re making progress,” Arena said. “When they’re able to get back in remains to be seen.”
By no means was it pretty, but it was memorable and just enough for the Galaxy.
Alan Gordon’s 72nd minute goal snapped a scoreless tie and proved to be enough to give the Galaxy a 1-0 victory on the road over Houston. The Galaxy caught a huge break on the goal with Houston defender David Horst actually playing the ball into Gordon’s direction.
The goal came on Gordon’s 35th birthday.
They all count… pic.twitter.com/WBJKZ6U9Il
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) October 16, 2016
With the victory, the Galaxy improves to 51 points. They remain in third place and clinches a home match in the knockout round (Oct. 26 or 27).
The true answer probably won’t be available until at least after today’s game at Houston (2 p.m.; Spectrum SportsNet). The Galaxy begins today in third place in the Western Conference on 48 points. There is the possibility that the club could end the day in fifth place.
If the Galaxy can clinch either third or fourth place, then they will host the knockout round game. If they’re fifth or sixth, then it is on the road as was the case last year.
“I don’t think we’ve lost any confidence,” Galaxy defender Daniel Steres said. “I think it helped having these two weeks to regroup, sort some things out, get together as a team and decide where we want to be in the next few months.”
To complicate matters, the Galaxy encountered travel issues out of LAX Saturday, with their plan being delayed several times.
Today is big.
Game day links:
— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) October 14, 2016
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) October 14, 2016
Predictions for Liverpool vs Man Utd and every other EPL game this weekend. https://t.co/oAdAlwHtmL
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) October 14, 2016
— FCB Anaheim (@FCB_Anaheim) October 13, 2016
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 14, 2016
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) October 14, 2016
With two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Galaxy returned to the practice field Monday with a clearer focus.
The Galaxy can’t finish in top 2 spots in the Western Conference, but could still host the knockout round game, if they’re able to finish either third or fourth.
“We got a lot of good work in,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said of last week. “I think we
made a lot of progress with our team. There were definitely some things we wanted to work on, just getting our team better and having a clearer understanding of what we want to be about as we close out the regular season.”
The road to either the third or fourth place spot will be interesting. The Galaxy will go in Sunday’s game at Houston with 48 points. Real Salt Lake has 45. Seattle (44) has a midweek against Houston, so if current form holds, the Sounders would be expected to win, giving them 47. Sporting Kansas City has 43.
“Our success has put us in a difficult position,” Arena said. “Every game we play is a big game for our opponents. The game in Houston is going to be a difficult game and we know that.”
All of the Western Conference games on Sunday will start at 2 p.m. (PST).
Galaxy at Houston; Sporting Kansas City at Real Salt Lake; Vancouver at San Jose; Colorado at Portland and Seattle at FC Dallas.
There is a good chance that the Galaxy could have three consecutive home games to start the playoff run. They host FC Dallas (Oct. 23) in the final game of the regular season. If they finish third or fourth, the Galaxy will host the knockout round game (Oct. 26 or 27) and if they’re successful, they would host the first leg of the conference semifinal against Colorado or FC Dallas.
Trailblazer: Former USMNT coach Bob Bradley has become the first coach of a Premier League team when he joined Welsh club Swansea City; former U.S. star Landon Donovan is also an investor in the club. (Associated Press photo).
The Galaxy is tied with Colorado with 48 points. FC Dallas is on 53. This is the first league meeting between the teams, the first encounter came in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup when FC Dallas scored a pair of goals in extra time for a 2-1 victory.
“I think more than anything, we’re pretty disappointed with how Sunday turned out,” Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan said. “We want to correct some things. In the end, if we play well and correct some things and the ball doesn’t go the right that day, then we’ll live with it, but we want to get better at some things.”
Donovan on FC Dallas: Oscar (Pareja) has done a really good job. They are as fit as any team, they move as well as any team, they look like their chemistry is good, they’re young and hungry and playing very well. It is going to be a really interesting game.”
Donovan on his fitness: I feel old. I’m getting there. I think day-by-day, getting better, getting stronger and faster and feeling better. I’m trying to get a place where I’m 60,70,80 minutes fit, so that if he need to use me in that way, he can. I don’t know how fit I am quite yet, but we’re slowing increasing those minutes.