MLS: The Los Angeles Galaxy, Yet Again, Turn on the Heat for Playoffs
The Los Angeles Galaxy had a rough start to the season. Their offense was not clicking. The goals were not coming. And most importantly, the results were not in their favor.
However, the squad managed to claim the fourth seed in the Western Conference, forcing their way into the playoffs with a late-season revival that included a key four-game winning streak from the end of August to the end of September.
As a result, the Galaxy Battled the Vancouver Whitecaps in a wild-card matchup to earn a spot in the Western Conference semifinals. It took a Landon Donovan penalty in the 73rd minute to squeak by, but it was enough to earn the Galaxy a date with the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, the San Jose Earthquakes.
A late goal by Victor Bernardez gave the Earthquakes a 1-0 lead in the conference semifinals. With their backs against the wall, the Los Angeles Galaxy squad that has consistently led the way in the MLS had finally awaken.
Playing away at San Jose, the Galaxy put three goals away in the first half, two from Robbie Keane (21', 34') and one from Mike Magee (39'), shocking the Earthquake fans, who filled the stadium in hopes of making it to the Western Conference finals. The Galaxy had come alive.
In the first game of the Western Conference finals, the Seattle Sounders were well aware of the strength of their opponent. But that did not stop Los Angeles. In a similar combo of Keane (45', 67') and Magee (64'), the Galaxy crushed their opponents, 3-0.
And now, as the squad prepares for this upcoming Sunday, when they take on the Sounders for their second leg of the conference finals, one just has to wonder what it is about the Galaxy and the playoffs that makes them so unbeatable. Their play automatically becomes increasingly better as soon as the pressure is put on the squad. And they have no problem scoring goals.
As we approach the MLS Finals, it seems probable that the Galaxy will find themselves with an opportunity to repeat as MLS champions. They are a championship-caliber team and will continue to play like it so long as the title and the pressure remain present. They are truly a playoff team.
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