Two Major League Soccer teams on the outside looking in with regard to the postseason picture play an important match Sunday night when the L.A. Galaxy host Sporting Kansas City.
The Galaxy (13-13-3, 42 points) are winless in four straight games and seven of the last eight, including a 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rapids on the road Wednesday night in their most recent game. The quiet stretch has cost the Galaxy a place in the top seven in the Western Conference, with that number of teams qualifying for postseason play.
But Los Angeles has five games left, including Sunday's, and is only one point out of a playoff spot. The Galaxy have the stars, including world class striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his 23 goals, to be much better than where they currently stand.
"I see us in the exact same situation, just like last season. The last five, six games we needed to win to go into the playoffs," Ibrahimovic told the team website after the Colorado loss. "I think it will be very difficult because everybody, when they play against us, they give 200 percent. And we have to be better than what we are."
Sporting KC face a much bigger challenge, their streak of eight consecutive postseason appearances in jeopardy. Sitting on 37 points with a 10-12-7 mark, they have won three of four but are six points out of a playoff spot. So wins are critical, with help from other results.
The loss in that span came last Saturday at the Portland Timbers, when Sporting Kansas City led 1-0 for 82 minutes before falling 2-1.
Their remaining schedule is daunting. Among SKC's final five regular-season matches are games against the Galaxy and three teams currently in playoff position -- Minnesota United, Portland and FC Dallas. Their other match is against the Rapids.
"All these points at the end are important, whether it's one (from a draw) or three (from a win), we've got to keep getting something from these games," head coach Peter Vermes said. "I don't have to put more pressure on the situation. It's already there."
--Field Level Media
Galaxy brace for SKC as both fight for playoffs