Defying belief, Galaxy control their own fate

first_imgBy Billy Witz STAFF WRITER After a draw with Chivas USA last week, Chicago forward Chris Rolfe sat at his locker and admitted that he and his Fire teammates – fighting to maintain their hold on the final MLS playoff berth – did their share of scoreboard watching as the regular season was winding down. Asked if he kept an eye on the Galaxy scores, Rolfe couldn’t keep a straight face. The Galaxy (8-13-6, 30 points) trail Chicago by six points, Colorado by two and Columbus by one, but the teams they’re chasing have one less game and the Galaxy’s regular-season finale is at Chicago on Oct. 21, giving them a chance to catch the Fire. A victory in all three games would do no worse than draw the Galaxy even with Chicago, but by virtue of a victory then and a 2-0 win over the Fire on July 4, the Galaxy would win the first tiebreaker, head-to-head competition. Also providing them with a boost could be the return of David Beckham as well as another European veteran, Abel Xavier, who returned from injuries to practice last week and could be available Saturday against Toronto. With two weeks remaining in the regular season, six of the eight playoffs berths have been clinched by Chivas USA, Houston and FC Dallas in the Western Conference and D.C. United, New England and New York in the Eastern Conference. (The top two finishers in each conference are guaranteed berths with the remaining four going to teams with the next-highest point totals.) New York, with 39 points, needs only a point in its two games (Kansas City, Galaxy) or a Chicago loss and a tie, or a Galaxy tie. Kansas City, in seventh place with 37 points, can clinch with a win over New York or FC Dallas, or two of the following: two Chicago losses, a Galaxy loss, and a Colorado tie. The Galaxy’s unlikely run – until two weeks ago they hadn’t won a road game in more than a year – has even bought them a margin for error. Given the other contenders’ schedules, two wins could get the Galaxy in. Columbus must play at D.C. United; Colorado still has a trip to Chivas – teams that are a combined 20-1-5 at home this season. Chicago also has a trip to D.C. on Saturday. About an hour after the Fire finish, the Galaxy kick off at home against Toronto, which didn’t look like much of a game a couple weeks ago. Now interest is rapidly increasingly, perhaps even in Chicago. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas City“No,” he said, chuckling. “They’re not the team we’re looking at right now.” That’s surely changed now after the Galaxy’s fourth consecutive win – and third in a row on the road – a 2-1 come-from-behind victory Sunday over defending MLS champion Houston. After five months of injuries, poor play and unfulfilled expectations, the Galaxy’s late surge has put them in a position that only weeks ago seemed preposterous: They are masters of their own fate. If the Galaxy win their final three games – home to Toronto and New York, and at Chicago – they’ll be in the playoffs, regardless of what else happens. While the Galaxy’s prospects improved with each victory, it wasn’t until Saturday, when Columbus lost to FC Dallas, 3-1, that the Galaxy had their hopes in their own hands. last_img read more