Minnesota and LA Galaxy Still Fighting for Playoff Spot in Season Finale

Decision day in Major League Soccer includes a pivotal game between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Minnesota United FC. Neither team has clinched a playoff spot, but both are on the verge of doing so with one game left. The teams have split two previous meetings this year in Minnesota, with Sunday’s game being the only one between the Galaxy and the Loons in Los Angeles.

According to BetUS, the Galaxy is a home favorite with a +100 moneyline, while Minnesota’s moneyline is listed at +260. There is also a moneyline of +275 for a draw. Finally, the sportsbook has the betting odds for this game’s over/under at three total goals being scored.

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What’s the Situation?

Currently, Minnesota is fifth in the Western Conference standings with 48 points and a three-point cushion for making the playoffs. In short, the Loons can secure a playoff spot with a win or tie against the Galaxy. However, there are scenarios in which they can lose and still qualify based on the results of several other games.

The Galaxy, meanwhile, has 47 points and is clinging to the seventh and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. That means a win by Los Angeles and the Galaxy will be in the playoffs. There are also scenarios that would put the Galaxy in the playoffs with a tie or a loss, although they would prefer to keep their destiny in their own hands.

Falling Stars

While the Galaxy still controls its own destiny, the club has not been in the best form late in the season. Despite a draw with first-place Seattle on Monday night, the Galaxy is winless in three straight matches, including a draw with lowly FC Dallas. Los Angeles ranks in the bottom half of MLS in goals conceded this season and has just one clean sheet in 14 matches since a 1-0 win over Minnesota in mid-August.

That means the Galaxy will likely need multiple goals in this game in order to secure a win. The good news is that Javier Hernandez is healthy again and rounding into form with three goals in his last four matches. But while he has 15 goals on the season, nobody else on the roster has more than five goals, so midfielders like Victor Vazquez, Sebastian Lletget, and Sacha Kljestan will need to step up and help.

Any Given Sunday

Much like the Galaxy, Minnesota United has endured some rough moments down the stretch, suffering three losses and two draws in their last eight games. But a 2-1 win over second-place Sporting KC last week was a huge confidence boost for the Loons. After that win, they will be confident that they can at least pull out a draw despite managing just one win and one draw in their last six away matches.

Minnesota’s defense has been key for the Loons all season. However, they’ve conceded eight goals over their last four matches, failing to keep a clean sheet during that stretch. That means Minnesota will need to find the back of the net in this game, with leading assist man Franco Fragapane being the best candidate after scoring three goals in his last five games.

Let’s Call It Even

Minnesota United is on the road and knows that a draw will be good enough to get into the playoffs, so the Loons are bound to play more conservatively in this game. They also have a defense that can be tough to crack, especially since the Galaxy is lacking dangerous goal-scorers outside of Hernandez. While neither team will go without a goal in this game, look for this game to end 1-1 with the Galaxy frustrated and hoping it’ll be enough to reach the playoffs.

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