Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy were left to rue their opportunities missed in the scoreless draw with Mark Watson’s San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday night at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Jaime Penedo was the hero for the G’s, making a flurry of key stops, and the back line of Los Angeles stood tall to secure a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
“That’s our main aim, to get to the playoffs, but obviously disappointed not to get the three points. [It] could have gone either way,” said Galaxy captain Robbie Keane to LAGalaxy.com’s Adam Serrano. “I think we were a bit more clever in the last 15 minutes in the counterattack, I think we could have scored a couple of goals because they were gung-ho and threw everybody on and they were getting balls in the box.”
“Well, we clinched a spot [in the playoffs] but we wanted more and I think we feel like we let an opportunity slip through our hands,” said midfielder Landon Donovan, who wasn’t 100 percent against the Quakes. “I think the expectation is to make the playoffs and we had the chance to do something more, so we are disappointed by we have to move on and we have to big games this week so we have to move on.”
“It was important for us to get a point to stay alive in the playoff race. It is just about keeping going, right now,” added Penedo. “We knew what was at stake, but the game took another turn. It was important to protect the tie because there is a bigger goal at play here. This is a team that wins a lot and we just need to carry that into the playoffs.”
“We don’t have time to rest. We can’t think about the playoffs yet because there’s a lot to work to do,” midfielder Marcelo Sarvas said of the results. “There are points to be had that can put us in first, second, third, fourth or, maybe, fifth place. We have a lot of work to do.”
A victory over the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field on Oct. 27 will do wonders for the Galaxy’s playoff seeding. Currently, the Galaxy are in third place in the MLS Western Conference with a record of 15-11-7 (52 points) and would concede home field advantage to either Real Salt Lake or the Portland Timbers in the Western Conference Semifinals.
However, a victory against a struggling Seattle side could see Los Angeles slide up to second in the West, meaning their will have home field advantage in the conference semis while avoiding the play-in game for the #4 and #5 seeds.
“At this stage of the season there are a couple of guys with nagging injuries so the play-in game isn’t ideal, but we did it last year and did fine with it,” defender Omar Gonzalez told Serrano. “If we do get the play-in game, maybe we can use that game to sharpen up and be ready for the rest of the season if we get past it. If it’s the way we want it, we’re not playing in the play-in game.”
In the meantime, the focus will be on getting a good seed in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League when they take on Isidro Metapan on Oct. 24. A victory over the Caleros will assure the Galaxy of at least a #3 seed at the worst. Kickoff at the Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador, El Salvador is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET and will be televised by FOX Soccer Plus.