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Playoff permutations: LA Galaxy can’t clinch berth Monday, but can help sink rival

The lay of the land before the second-to-last game.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at LA Galaxy Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

With the LA Galaxy set to play a “you almost never see this” MLS regular season game on Monday, I’ve got a case of good news/bad news ahead of the match, at the Seattle Sounders.

In terms of booking a playoff spot this season, results so far elsewhere this weekend have been a mixed bag for the Galaxy. Real Salt Lake losing 4-3 to the San Jose Earthquakes was a big boost, considering RSL had two games in hand on nearly everyone also chasing a playoff berth, but Minnesota United beating Sporting Kansas City 2-1 means LA will have no chance of clinching a postseason spot if they beat the Sounders on Monday, that’s the bad news.

That doesn’t mean the Galaxy can’t make the playoffs, but rather they look like they will be in the mix going into Decision Day next Sunday. In other words, it comes down to the final day, almost certainly.

Now, the possible good news: If the Galaxy beat the Sounders, and LAFC lose to the Vancouver Whitecaps — another playoff chaser — on Tuesday, then LAFC will officially be out of the playoff race in 2021. Not only would it be celebrated to sink the El Trafico rival, it would help clear the path among the five teams going for the final three playoff spots in the Western Conference.

So that’s the situation. LA are sitting a point above the playoff line, so their room for error is gone at this point. RSL can still leapfrog the Galaxy if both teams pick up maximum points, but I don’t have a beat on all the possible permutations, but it does not look like the Galaxy truly control their destiny. They appear to mostly control their destiny, but that means they need two wins in their next two games. Next up, a tottering Sounders side.

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