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Seattle vs. RSL Could Make Galaxy Black Swans or Sleeping Beauties

Depending on how things go tonight in Seattle, it could behove the Galaxy to be greedy and take everything now or lie low and wait for the playoffs.

Victor Decolongon - Getty Images

Tonight's match between Real Salt Lake is like a one of the old chose your own adventure books. The way the Galaxy approach their final two matches will change drastically depending on which club gets the result tonight. RSL, Seattle, and LA have all clinched playoff spots, but the order is still somewhat malleable.

Should Seattle Sounders lose, they will have spent their match in hand and stay at 52 points. This would put them even with the Galaxy in total matches played with only two points separating them. Thus, the Galaxy could go up to San Jose with a chance to keep pace with the Sounders and catch them on the final match day. It would make sense for LA to embrace their Black Swan and go after all three points using every ounce of energy and cunning they possessed.

Should Real Salt Lake lose, then there will be just one point separating them and the Sounders. RSL would only have one match to add some separation between them and the Sounders. At best, RSL could put four points between themselves and Seattle, with Seattle having six available points.

In this scenario, LA should make like Sleeping Beauty and rest while the world around them figures out what it wants to do. The Galaxy could mathematically catch the Sounders, with five points separating the teams and six points available for both clubs. However, if the Sounders can defeat Salt lake at Century Link on Wednesday it's a bad bet to assume they'll lose to FC Dallas on Sunday.

When suggesting the Galaxy should make like Sleeping Beauty, I mean specifically that the Galaxy should rest those who haven't practiced with the team over these last two weeks. Having a full strength squad for the final match against Seattle and the playoffs is more important then trying to shoot through as narrow a window as the Galaxy will have should the Sounders win tonight.

The third angle to analyze this from is San Jose avoidance. San Jose stand at the top of the mountain like the dragon Maleficent, ready to breath fire on anyone willing to try and take the castle. Perhaps it's best to throw everything at San Jose now, as the possibility, however slim, of avoiding San Jose in the quarterfinals of the playoffs is more important than anything else in MLS.

Of course, this is all just once upon a dream. Things will come clearer after Seattle and Salt Lake play each other tonight. Landon Donovan is the only player officially listed as questionable thus far. Still, it wouldn't surprised me if tonight's result has a noticeable effect on Friday's injury report.