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Galaxy and Loons look to eliminate playoff ‘ifs’ on Decision Day

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The Los Angeles Galaxy haven’t been below the Western Conference playoff line all season as they enter their Decision Day regular-season finale against Minnesota United on Sunday afternoon in Carson, Calif.

Head coach Greg Vanney’s seventh-place squad knows the best chance to keep it that way: Win and they’re in the playoffs.

“The path is clear as to what we have to do,” Vanney said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “It’s a knockout game.”

The Galaxy (13-12-8, 47 points), who haven’t won a season finale since 2012, could still tie and sneak in if Vancouver Whitecaps loses to Seattle, along with losses or ties by Real Salt Lake (at Sporting Kansas City) and Los Angeles FC (at Colorado).

LA also could advance with a loss if RSL and LAFC both tie or lose. But that’s a lot of ifs.

“Hopefully we can get the three points and qualify directly without depending on other results,” said forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, who leads the Galaxy with 15 goals in 20 games.

Minnesota United (13-11-9, 48 points) enters the day in fifth place, thanks to its 2-1 home win over Sporting KC last Sunday, and needs only a tie to assure themselves of a playoff berth. The Loons also could advance with a Vancouver loss and non-wins by LAFC and RSL.

“I can’t remember a year where, in both conferences, there’s been maybe nine, ten teams who are not sure of either making the playoffs or dropping out,” Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath said. “So it’s going to be exciting stuff. Decision Day or Judgment Day, let’s hope we can go in there and give a performance of what’s going to be a special day.”

Minnesota United is just 1-5-2 all-time against the Galaxy but won the last meeting 3-0 at home on Sept. 18. The Loons also have never won a road game against the Galaxy in three tries (2-0-1).

“We’re going to have to play,” said Heath. “We’re going to have to be ready from the very first whistle. Take opportunities when they come. The old saying (is) goals change games. If you get the first goal, the pressure would be enormous on the Galaxy.”

–Field Level Media

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