Los Angeles Football Club have one more game in the regular season, Sunday against the Portland Timbers at The Banc. With a playoff spot already wrapped up, is this game a dead rubber? On the contrary, my friend. There’s a few key items LAFC have to help fire them through the game.
Seeding for the playoffs
Unfortunately, LAFC have no shot of getting into the top four in the Western Conference. They are in 6th place in the Western Conference, and the two teams ahead of them, FC Dallas and Minnesota United, play each other on Decision Day. LAFC would need both teams to lose, which is impossible, one or both teams will pick up at least one point on Sunday.
Top four seeding is useful in the Western Conference because those teams will host in the opening round of the playoffs. This means LAFC will have to go on the road for their opening game, and perhaps as long as their playoff run lasts.
Still, a win can help LAFC’s seeding, even in the second four. They can finish as high as 5th, which would mean they would play a lower seed in the top four, and it would improve their chances of getting a home game at some point, if they keep winning. So the seeding isn’t as consequential as a home game on the line, but it could still help LAFC get a more favorable path in the postseason, potentially.
Diego Rossi scored Wednesday, and while that goal was a consolation effort in the game against the San Jose Earthquakes, it could help him clinch the MLS Golden Boot, depending on how Sunday goes.
Rossi currently leads the league, with 14 goals on the season. Three players — Gyasi Zardes, Raul Ruidiaz and Robert Beric — are next in line with 11 goals each. Three goals is a decent cushion, but it’s by no means insurmountable for any of the chasing pack.
So if Rossi can score a goal or two on the day, his chances of clinching the Golden Boot go up substantially, obviously. Clint Mathis has the record for goals in a game in MLS history, with five, so it’s happened. But while Rossi likely already has at least a share of the Golden Boot, another goal will probably seal the deal for him on Sunday, so root for him to get on the board. And remember, if he wins it, he’ll be the second straight LAFC player to win the Golden Boot, not too shabby.
Here’s the intangible thing to play for: LAFC really need a good performance heading into the playoffs. They were outplayed by the Earthquakes Wednesday, and the game before that, they won but they also really didn’t impress against the Houston Dynamo in spite of the result. Head coach Bob Bradley has been quite annoyed with the performances of late, so a good win over Portland would certainly help raise confidence and possibly offer momentum before we hit the elimination games. And yes, after Sunday every game LAFC plays for the rest of 2020 will be an elimination game, so this is the tune-up to get right before the playoffs kick off. Now or never, basically.
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