LA Galaxy Playoff Hopes Could End Mathematically This Week

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ATLANTA, GA SEPTEMBER 20: LA's Jermaine Jones (left) and Atlanta's Miguel Almiron (10) look to the referee after they collided during the first half of the match between Atlanta United and LA Galaxy on September 20, 2017 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Editorial (September 26, 2017) – The Los Angeles Galaxy have had a disaster of a season by all accounts. Their attempt to go young and hire Curt Onalfo as Head Coach did not yield results. Multiple signings have not panned out. Head Coach Sigi Schmid hasn’t been able to stop the bleeding. They’re on pace for their worst season in club history by a number of metrics. Despite all this, they haven’t been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

LA Galaxy Playoff Hopes Could End Mathematically This Week

Most MLS fans and pundits wrote the Galaxy off a month ago (possibly sooner). Still, they mathematically haven’t been eliminated yet. Let’s dig into this a bit deeper. Warning, I am about to use math.

The Galaxy have 27 points this season on 30 matches played. They can earn no more than 39 points this season (27 previous earned + a maximum of 12 points, assuming they win out their remaining four games). Currently, the top five teams in the Western Conference already have more than 39 points. The Galaxy can finish no higher than sixth in the table, which is the final playoff spot.

Basically, the Galaxy have zero room for error and need all the help in order to pull this off. They have to win out, otherwise they’re eliminated. If the San Jose Earthquakes or Houston Dynamo get just one point from their remaining games, the Galaxy are eliminated no matter what else happens.

If FC Dallas gets at least two points from their remaining five games, the Galaxy are out. There is a bit more wiggle room when it comes to Minnesota United FC and Colorado Rapids.

But Matt, some of these teams play each other, right? And somebody has to get points from those games. Could the Galaxy already be out because of the way the schedule is set up?

Good question. None of San Jose, Houston, or Dallas play each other, conveniently. Minnesota plays San Jose, Houston, and LA once each. Colorado has a home-and-away with Dallas remaining. Those are the only games between these six teams.

I did a full break down here of a scenario where the Galaxy can still finish sixth. It could involve a tie for sixth between LA, San Jose, Houston, and Dallas (39 points each). The first tie breaker is wins. The Galaxy would beat the Texas teams, but tie San Jose (11 wins each).

The next tie breaker is Goal Differential. The Galaxy have a -21 GD as of Sunday’s loss to Sporting KC. They’ll have to win each of their final four games by at least one goal, giving them at worst a -17 GD. The Quakes currently have a -20 GD that would have to fall to at least -24 (assuming four losses, each by one goal).

LA would have the edge there, giving them sixth place and the final playoff spot.

The margin for error is as thin as can be. It could all be over on Wednesday. In all likelihood, it will be at some point (probably on Wednesday). But for now, the Galaxy still have a chance mathematically.

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