There’s no shortage of soccer in the last games of the regular. And the Galaxy will get more than their fair share.
Major League Soccer announced the last games for the Galaxy’s 2020 season on Tuesday morning. That included an additional nine games for the club with a further two matches– Wednesday’s matchup in Utah with Real Salt Lake, and Sunday’s game in LA against the Seattle sounders — already on the schedule.
The blistering pace starts with the Galaxy traveling back to San Jose on Oct. 3 for their third game against the Earthquakes. Four days later, they’ll host the Portland Timbers on Oct. 7 before traveling to Colorado to take on the Rapids on Oct. 10.
The run will continue with their fourth seasonal match against the Earthquakes at home on Oct. 14. After that, they’ll stay at home for their only back-to-back home games of the restart as they host the Vancouver Whitecaps on Oct. 18. It’s a total of five games in 15 days, with the home games out-pacing the away games by one. But one of those away game is at altitude, and all the travel must be accomplished with same-day arrivals and departures according to the COVID-19 guidelines laid out by the league.
Then, the Galaxy are gifted a week off before facing LAFC on Oct. 25 for the fourth time this season at Banc of California Stadium.
MLS seems intent on wearing out El Trafico’s welcome. But with LAFC grabbing the first victory in Orlando (6-2 Win) and then the Galaxy shutting them out in back to back games once play returned to home markets (0-2 and 3-0), it has plenty of exciting storylines, especially with the playoffs approaching.
Three days later, the Galaxy are back on a plane to Portland for an Oct. 28 matchup with the Timbers.
They’ll finish out their 2020 regular season with a final home game as they host Real Salt Lake on Nov. 1 before transitioning to decision day — with all MLS teams playing at the same time across all time zones — on Nov. 8 against the Whitecaps in Portland (Vancouver has taken up US residence).
The only caveat to the entire schedule is that the Galaxy still have a makeup game to play against the Sounders — the game that was postponed after MLS teams took part in a nationwide protest. And with only three possible gaps for both the Galaxy and Sounders, one of those seven-day breaks is going to be turned into another midweek game. The first of those gaps is on Sept. 30 and could be the best chance to get the game in. But that’s immediately following Seattle’s first trip to LA to play the Galaxy on Sept. 27, and it would mean back to back Seattle-to-LA flights in four days.
With a total of 23 games in this abbreviated season, and with international breaks likely to cause some issues in October and November, the Galaxy’s remaining ten games of the season are a mix of cruelty and humor. And the relentless pace is sure to test the depth of a Galaxy team that has seemed shallow at many points throughout the year.
But the MLS season doesn’t end on Nov. 8. Instead, with expanded playoffs — eight teams from the Western Conference and ten from the Eastern Conference — teams will kick off a frantic postseason that should rival the regular season in terms of congestion. With a series of single-elimination games, an MLS Cup winner will be crowned during a global pandemic in December.
The perfect ending, you might say, to a crazy year.
With four games against the Galaxy’s two biggest rivals, this season – LAFC and the Earthquakes – MLS is banking on regional rivalries to keep fans interested in the breakneck pace. But the league is flirting with rivalry oversaturation. But it’s hard to argue about a road trip that is just 20 minutes up the freeway or 45 minutes by plane when the Galaxy will face a much more difficult road to other stadiums.