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USMNT vs. LA Galaxy: Who Would Win a One Game Playoff?

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In a hypothetical winner take all matchup between the US Men's National Team and the Galaxy, who would win?

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The USMNT are in action later today against Peru in an international friendly and several Galaxy players have been called up for action. But, what if instead of Gyasi Zardes and Omar Gonzalez being selected, what if the entire Galaxy team was selected as the opponent. In a one game playoff between the LA Galaxy and the USMNT, who would win?

Brian Straus posed this interesting question on the latest episode of SI's Planet Futbol Podcast this past week. For me, picking a winner is actually not quite so simple, especially since the Gold Cup roster for the USMNT included three players from the Galaxy.

Recent Run of Form

Both the USMNT and the Galaxy are coming off terrible performances in their most recent matches. The Galaxy looked terrible in the California Clasico. They were unable to string passes together and were physically outmatched by the San Jose Earthquakes.

The USMNT were equally as dismal in their Gold Cup losses to Panama and Jamaica. Without Clint Dempsey one wonders whether they would have scored at all in the Gold Cup (excluding the Cuba game). The back line has been atrocious and yet Jurgen stuck with Brooks and Alvarado even as the ship was sinking in front of him.

So based on the most recent games the teams have played, it's hard to pick a winner.

Edge: Draw

Potential

Who has the bigger upside? The future of the USMNT is looking better than it ever has in the past. But, this year the Galaxy have assembled arguably the greatest team in MLS history.

The timing of the game matters as well. Would this hypothetical game be played at the beginning of the MLS season or at the end of the MLS Cup playoffs? Bruce Arena has a way of getting the team to click on all cylinders when it really matters.

Edge: LA Galaxy, based on the point we are in the season

Location Matters

The Galaxy are practically unbeatable at StubHub. The large field and great crowd play to their advantage, and they've rarely lost over the past few years. However, they've been terrible on the road this year. They're still averaging under one point per game on the road. Away from StubHub the team is struck by Kryptonite, they simply can't get it done.

For the USMNT the home or away location rarely matters. They've been able to beat Germany in Europe and survived the Group of Death at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. With their experience in the snow game you'd have to give them the edge to win based on location.

Edge: LA Galaxy only if played at StubHub, USMNT anywhere else.

Coach

Bruce Arena vs. Jurgen Klinsmann. The only way Jurgen wins this matchup is if the two of them actually suit up and take the pitch at some point in the game.

Edge: Bruce.

My Pick: The LA Galaxy

Ultimately the Galaxy is a championship club with proven players. They know how to win and find a way to get the job done. Adding Gio Dos Santos, a thorn in the side of the USMNT, only further tilts the scales in favor of the Galaxy. (I'll never get the image of Tim Howard on his hands and knees trying in futility to stop the golazo out of my mind.)

The USMNT is still trying to figure out their identity. Jurgen has had the reigns of the team for awhile now, but the October 10th game against Mexico feels like a do or die matchup. Bruce Arena is one of, if not the greatest, American soccer coaches in history. He'd find a way to win.

Pick: LA Galaxy.

More Interesting Questions

As long as we're playing the hypothetical question, why stop with just the USMNT and the LA Galaxy? In a one game playoff, who would you pick in the following match ups?

  • Jurgen coached USMNT vs. Bruce Arena coached USMNT - Not Bruce's teams of the past that made it to the quarterfinals of the World Cup and were robbed by Torston Frings. What if Bruce came in for one game with the current crop of players available to choose from?
  • Landon Donovan on the USMNT vs. Leaving Donovan off the World Cup Roster - Jurgen is an idiot. No need to say more.
  • USMNT Hall of Fame vs. LA Galaxy Hall of Fame - If we could get the flux capacitor working and bring together players from across eras, who would win? Could Lalas and Gaetjens take down Beckham, Keane, Gio, and Lletget?

Let us know who you think would win each of the hypothetical match ups in the comments below and get ready to watch USMNT vs. Peru later on today. #IBelieveThatWeWillWin