Title Image - Steve Carrillo
Steve Carrillo

With stars aligning, Galaxy face Whitecaps

CARSON, Calif. — LA Galaxy defender Rolf Feltscher said he never lost faith in the five-time MLS Cup champions’ pursuit of their first playoff berth since 2016.

Not even a 1-4-1 slump in late April to mid-May or a four-game losing streak from July 27 to Aug. 11 could sway him from thinking positively. And that recent 0-3-2 slide? No problem, as far as Feltscher was concerned.

He remained steadfast in believing the Galaxy would be back in the postseason.

“I knew we would be there, 100 percent,” he said as the club prepared to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday at Dignity Health Sports Park (4:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet) in their regular-season home finale. “Even during the hard times.”

The Galaxy (16-13-3, 51 points) certainly have had their share of those this season, but now they almost feel like ancient history, thanks to a three-game winning streak highlighted by a victory on Wednesday in Utah that clinched a long-overdue playoff berth.

“Those three games are exactly what we are,” Feltscher said.

A victory on Sunday, by the way, would give them a first-round home playoff game on either Oct. 19 or Oct. 20.

Feltscher said mentality has made the difference lately.

“We knew we needed these points and just focused as a team,” he said. “We started doing that day by day in training, and we showed it in games. We are very happy now.

“We were saying, ‘Let’s play with confidence and show what we can do,’ and that’s what we did. But we don’t forget there are still two games left in the (regular) season and we have to take these points to have a better position in the playoffs.”

Goalkeeper David Bingham attributed the team’s recent turnaround to a greater attention to detail.

“We’ve done the little things a lot better,” he said. “We’ve kind of found a rhythm. When you have Seb (Sebastian Lletget), Joe (Corona) and Jonah (Jonathan dos Santos) in the middle that helps a lot. And the big guy up top (Zlatan Ibrahimovic) keeps scoring. When they’re doing their thing, it makes defending a lot easier.”

A steelier resolve has helped as well, he added.

“It’s just all about attitude,” he said of head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s ongoing message to the team. “He’s been saying that for the last couple of months.

“If we go out there and play our game and have the right mentality, then it can be very hard for teams to beat us.”

Schelotto was quick to caution the Galaxy aren’t finished despite already having qualified for the playoffs.

“It’s very important, the next game,” he said of facing the Whitecaps (7-15-10, 31 points), who are last in the West and led by Fredy Montero’s eight goals. “We win, we would play here the first game (in the playoffs). But it also will be very important to win in Houston (in the regular-season finale on Oct. 6). We need to keep working like the last three games and try to win on Sunday.”

Feltscher said the Galaxy, having reached their initial goal of returning to the postseason, have another one in mind.

“The first thing for us was to get into the playoffs,” he said. “Now the second thing for us is to be second (in the West). We have two more games, and we need to be very focused and play like we are not in the playoffs.

“I think if we think like that, we can be second at the end of the season.”