Oct 7, 2012, 12:25 PM EDT
The implications of Landon Donovan’s injury are clear to the United States national team: if Jurgen Klinsmann’s men have a bad night in two matches over the next 10 days, they could be out of the World Cup.
It’s not that Donovan is so irreplaceable in the cause – he’s valuable, for sure, but Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard are equally as essential at this point. The point here is that “zero margin for error” factor we talked about before.
The United States should still be OK … it’s just that a couple of less-than-ideal results have created a situation where a wobble could be historically costly.
Now … as for why Donovan’s injury could be so critical to the Galaxy, let’s start with a look at the Western Conference standings:
San Jose is clearly out of reach for everyone, having officially clinched the Western Conference crown.
For the Galaxy, third place is the prize. The difference between second and third is marginal (although it could become important if upsets rule the playoffs, as it would then help dictate the site for MLS Cup 2012 under the new format.)
Bruce Arena’s team probably cannot catch Real Salt Lake anyway. Any combination of two points earned for RSL or lost by the Galaxy puts the men from Utah out of reach for Los Angeles.
That third place, however, is critical – and Seattle gained the inside track last night. Seattle now has two games in hand over L.A., including tonight’s big event against rival Portland. So the Galaxy probably need to pick up all six points over its remaining pair for any chance of keeping that razor-thin one-point margin over the Sounders.
Donovan has been in bright form since returning from an August injury, working some splendid connections with Robbie Keane. He is more important to the Galaxy than to the national team, relative weight of the stakes notwithstanding.
The Galaxy’s last two are at San Jose and – here’s where it gets interesting – at home against Seattle.
The difference between third and fourth place is an extra post-season contest, one additional shot at potential elimination, plus the physical toll that goes with it.
How the possibly injured Donovan sees the playoff scenario and the Galaxy’s chase for third place:
That’s the goal, but that goal just got a lot more difficult. We’re probably going to have to win both games and then see what happens. These were always going to be hard games. This was a disappointing one because we’re playing a team that was within reach so then now they built a little bit of a gap, but we’ve known all along that this is going to be a battle at the end. Ideally, we don’t play in the [Knock Out Round game] but if that’s what happens then we’re a team that can overcome.”
May 18, 2013, 10:33 PM EDT
Highlights and context as “Jack Mac” scores his league-leading 8th goal:
May 18, 2013, 9:50 PM EDT
Cascadia Cup matches are always interesting, and Saturday’s 2-2 draw at BC Place was full of talking points:
May 18, 2013, 8:24 PM EDT
it was a big crowd pleaser on two fronts when the Whitecaps’ forward stroked an unstoppable free kick against Portland:
May 18, 2013, 8:05 PM EDT
The young Timbers’ attacker is having an outstanding season for the Jeld-Wen Field bunch:
May 18, 2013, 7:38 PM EDT
Higuain created the game’s only goal and was masterful in possession at BMO Field:
May 18, 2013, 6:44 PM EDT
An appearance next week in Paris Saint-Germain’s final match 2012-13 season doesn’t seem to be in the plans for the retiring superstar:
May 18, 2013, 5:32 PM EDT
Video: Reports out of England say today was the former England captain’s final match, rather than next week as expected:
May 18, 2013, 3:15 PM EDT
Depth at United will allow David Moyes to hut big game this offseason.
May 18, 2013, 2:40 PM EDT
David Beckham’s not dropping off your radar anytime soon.
May 18, 2013, 2:01 PM EDT
Before Monaco takes on Europe, they have to convince French soccer.
May 18, 2013, 1:17 PM EDT
Manchester City’s former boss reaches out to his supportive fan base – his first public comments since his Monday dismissal.
May 18, 2013, 12:28 PM EDT
Mercifully, the season’s come to an end for the 17 clubs who tried to keep pace with Bayern Munich.
May 18, 2013, 11:40 AM EDT
Manchester United’s outgoing boss was amazed but not surprised at his rival’s dismissal.
May 18, 2013, 10:22 AM EDT
Relegation’s decided. So’s the title and two of the league’s Europa League spots. All that’s left? The battle for top four.
May 18, 2013, 9:16 AM EDT
Russian oligarchs, third-party ownership, tax havens, and €60 million moves. This one has everything.
May 18, 2013, 8:11 AM EDT
One of the Premier League’s one-club men says goodbye at Anfield.
May 17, 2013, 7:32 PM EDT
Wait a doggone minute! Didn’t Philadelphia and Chicago just play?
May 17, 2013, 6:45 PM EDT
Brest and FC Lorient will be the opposition for retiring midfielder’s final two pro matches:
May 17, 2013, 5:35 PM EDT
Something we should fold into the ongoing Landon Donovan-U.S. national team debate:
May 17, 2013, 5:10 PM EDT
David Beckham has an option to purchase an MLS expansion franchise, and that has zero to do with Chivas USA:
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