Galaxy’s Playoff Push: Los Angeles face critical test against Minnesota United

NEW DELHI: The Los Angeles Galaxy face a crucial match against Minnesota United in Saint Paul, Minnesota, as they strive to keep their slim MLS Cup playoff hopes alive. Both teams are in a must-win situation to have any chance of making it to the Western Conference playoffs. Los Angeles currently sits in 10th place with an 8-12-11 record and 35 points, trailing ninth-place FC Dallas by six points. They have just three matches left in the season.
Minnesota United, on the other hand, has a slightly better position with a 9-12-11 record and 38 points, but their playoff hopes are also hanging by a thread. The situation for the Loons became even more challenging as they fired head coach Adrian Heath the morning before this critical game. They are now three points behind, with only two matches remaining.
Minnesota United enters the match on a seven-match winless streak (0-4-3), which ties the franchise’s longest winless streak in its history. They are coming off a disappointing 5-1 loss to LAFC, a match that could have been even worse if not for goaltender Dayne St. Clair’s 10-save performance.
Less than 48 hours after the loss, the club made the decision to part ways with Adrian Heath, who had been the only manager in the team’s seven-year history, along with technical director Mark Watson. Assistant coach Sean McAuley will take charge of the team for the final two matches.
Franchise CEO Shari Ballard explained the decision, saying, “In terms of why now, it’s not something that comes rash after a bad defeat in L.A. I felt the performance had been plateauing a bit the last couple of years. We’ve had some really positive stuff and some things that have been hard. As we got through the year it just continues to go in the wrong direction.”
Minnesota United faces the real possibility of missing the playoffs for the first time in five seasons and has struggled at home with just three wins, tying them with the last-place Colorado Rapids for the fewest home wins in MLS.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Galaxy is coming off a disappointing 2-1 loss to Seattle, where they conceded a late goal in stoppage time. Cristian Roldan scored the game-winner for the Sounders, denying L.A. a crucial point. Douglas Costa had previously tied the match for the Galaxy with a goal in the 54th minute.
Galaxy coach Greg Vanney expressed his disappointment, saying, “To lose the point at the end is heartbreaking for the group. The gut punch at the end is that it’s the last play of the game.”
The Galaxy had previously rallied for a thrilling 4-3 victory over Minnesota United on September 20 in California. They now have two home matches left against Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas to close out the season, and defender Kelvin Leerdam emphasized the importance of winning all their remaining games, regardless of the opponent or location.
(With Reuters inputs)

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