Tonight, if LA beat Salt Lake then LA will have 53 points. Fifty-three points would take LA up to second, even if Seattle defeat Portland on Sunday. It's a simple scenario that will see the LA Galaxy in second with Real Salt Lake and Seattle tied at 52 points and then third and fourth would be decided by goals for.
The Galaxy could just as easily finish the weekend in fourth, for if the Galaxy draw against Salt Lake then they'd have 51 points. Should the Seattle Sounders defeat the Portland Timbers they'd jump ahead of the Galaxy with 52 points, just behind Salt Lake with 53. An LA defeat would put the Galaxy even further back.
Of course, it's not a guarantee that Seattle defeat Portland. If Portland can manage the draw then Seattle couldn't leapfrog the Galaxy, even if the Galaxy lost to Salt Lake. Goals for would have LA in third above Seattle. If Portland can pull off the win then the Galaxy would be in even better shape.
Which goes to show just how important victory is today, in that it can mean the difference between second and fourth. With a road trip to San Jose staring the Galaxy in the face after Saturday, these three points on the table are of the utmost importance.
Tonight can mean the difference between second place in the West and fourth. Easily. The MLS playoffs don't start in November, they begin tonight. This is the most important Galaxy match of the season, and each one from here on will have that same exact label.