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Scoping out the scenarios on Decision Day for LA Galaxy

The good news: They control their destiny.

SOCCER: NOV 01 MLS - LA Galaxy at Seattle Sounders FC Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

So listen: The LA Galaxy may have drawn on Monday, but it turns out they remain above the playoff line in the Western Conference! All is not lost!

That’s right, it’s pretty incredible, but what looked like a doom result on Monday now looks a lot better, after LAFC drew their game in hand on Tuesday and Real Salt Lake lost theirs on Wednesday.

So what does that mean for the Galaxy’s playoff prospects heading into Sunday’s Decision Day clash against Minnesota United? Let’s walk you through it:

Win and you’re in

The good news for LA is that if they beat Minnesota, they’ll clinch a place in the playoffs. With RSL and LAFC both sitting two points behind the Galaxy, a win will put the challengers out of reach. Easy!

That would obviously be the best scenario, but what if that doesn’t happen?

A draw

If the Galaxy draw the Loons, that could help them, because if LAFC and RSL draw or lose, LA would still be two to three points ahead. In that case, they’d get in the postseason.

However, if the Galaxy draw and LAFC or RSL (or both) win, they would be level on points, at 48. It would go down to tiebreakers, and if RSL won, they would have the first tiebreaker, most wins. So that would knock the Galaxy below the playoff line.

If only LAFC win, LA draw and RSL lose, then LAFC would advance on the second tiebreaker, goal difference. Presently, LAFC enjoy a +9 swing in goal difference compared to the Galaxy, and this scenario would mean they would add to that advantage.

So a draw could be fine, but it’s probably not the smartest strategy to count on, since the competition could surpass the Galaxy.

What if the Galaxy lose? Are they out?

A loss

Not necessarily. If LA lose and RSL and LAFC both lose or draw, the Galaxy would still enjoy a 1-2 point cushion and would qualify for the playoffs. So even though we’ve been saying the Galaxy have blown their advantage, it turns out they still have a tiny cushion heading into the final day, and that could still save them if the teams chasing them can’t win.

But if either LAFC or RSL win and the Galaxy lose, then it’s game over and the Galaxy won’t make the playoffs. So losing is still a “winning” proposition, in a sense, but they would need to rely on the teams below them to screw up, too.

Of course, all of this will be hindsight after Sunday’s game, but hopefully that match against Minnesota won’t be the Galaxy’s last of the 2021 season. We’ll see.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.