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MLS Preview: LA Galaxy and FC Dallas with so much to gain

Keane of L.A. Galaxy celebrates scoring against Juventus during soccer match in Los Angeles

Robbie Keane of L.A. Galaxy points after scoring against Juventus during the second half of their Guinness International Champions Cup soccer match at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, August 3, 2013. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)


With 11 matches remaining, it’s hard to argue that either the L.A. Galaxy or FC Dallas could lose the chance at a playoff spot in tonight’s clash.

But they could certainly go a long way towards winning one.

The two sides will square off in FC Dallas Stadium with just a point of separation between them, and Los Angeles just a point out of 5th place in the Western Conference. A win for either side will be a major boost in their quest to make the top half.

There’s quite a bit of time left still to make up for lost ground, but the two sides don’t meet again, and they’re sure to be near each other in the standings at season’s end, so the match becomes that much bigger.

It’s arguably more important for FC Dallas, who have had a rough go recently. They haven’t won a league match since May 25, and haven’t even scored a goal in 450 minutes (just over 5 matches!).

Even worse, their last four matches have seen just one point on a 0-0 draw with struggling Montreal, and they lost the other three 3-0, 3-0, and 2-0 (to Los Angeles). It’s not been pretty. “I don’t think we’re in good form” said coach Schellas Hyndman. Ya think?

It’s been a little better for the Galaxy. They’re winning matches and scoring goals, but they’re also losing at a decent clip, dropping points as well as gaining them.

It’s no secret the Galaxy are an all-or-nothing team, having drawn just three times all season (only once since March 30). This seems to be something that the players are finally acknowledging. “I think we have to start getting a better mentality of getting points on the road” said defender Todd Dunivant. “We have to be a little smarter.”

Note: he didn’t say getting three points, he said getting points.

Don’t be surprised to see Los Angeles hole up and play for the draw on the road, considering they’ve recorded zero points on the road in their last three matches, and have just one win to show for their last seven road ties.

Los Angeles coach Bruce Arena also admitted their side’s defensive set piece difficulties this season, so fouling may be at a minimum. They’ve allowed seven goals from dead ball situations this season, 2nd most in the league to DC’s eight.

The positive for the Galaxy is that Robbie Keane’s back from a hip flexor injury, and his addition should add a jolt to the already dangerous attack.

Don’t forget: the Western Conference margin between Dallas in 7th and Vancouver in 2nd is just four measly points. With a solid chunk of time left, anything can happen, and three big ones for either side here could catapult one of them into a very solid position.