Mathematically the Galaxy still have a chance at the postseason. Realistically, however, they’re done, buried one spot out of the Western Conference cellar with 13 points and four teams separating them from the final playoff spot.
Just don’t tell that to anyone in the locker room. Their hope, if not logic, reigns supreme.
“We catch a streak here and we’re on fire and we go into the playoffs and we win the Cup,” goalkeeper Jon Kempin said with a straight face.
“[We’re] not completely out of it. I know that for a fact,” defender Daniel Steres agreed. “We can still win each game and that’s all we’re trying to do right now. So I’m not paying attention to any of that.”
Apparently Steres hasn’t been paying much attention to how the Galaxy have been playing lately, either, since Sunday’s loss extended their winless streak to 10 games, the team’s longest slump since 2008. Plus, they haven’t won at home in a franchise-record 10 games, haven’t scored since Aug. 6 and haven’t led an MLS game since July 1.
“Now you know why I don’t wear a tie on the sidelines. I would choke myself,” said coach Sigi Schmid, who is winless in five games since taking over for Curt Onalfo.
Schmid has been troubled by the same lineup problems that plagued Onalfo, namely injuries and suspensions that have prevented him from starting the same 11 players twice.
Hours before Sunday’s game he learned Romain Alessandrini, the team’s leading scorer, wouldn’t play because his girlfriend had gone into labor. Then midway through the first half, right back Pele van Anholt was carried off on a stretcher with an apparent knee injury. Then his replacement, Nathan Smith, was given a straight red card early in the second half, leaving the Galaxy to play out the game a man short.
“When the trainer calls me,” Schmid said, “I’m panicked.”
He’ll get another call Monday morning after Van Anholt’s MRI and the coach is already bracing himself for more bad news.
“If we didn’t have bad luck, we’d have no luck,” said Schmid, who also saw his team lose a potential goal to a video replay for the third time in four games, this time when referee Chris Penso overruled himself and took away a penalty kick he had awarded the Galaxy early in the second half.
But the worst of the luck Sunday came on a Valeri Qazaishvili shot in first-half stoppage time that deflected in off Galaxy defender Dave Romney, and a Chris Wondolowski goal in second-half stoppage time off a rebound that Kempin pushed into his feet.
In between, Marco Urena scored a slightly more traditional goal on a breakaway in the 80th minute.
On the other end the Galaxy’s best chances came in quick succession less than 10 minutes before the intermission, the first on an Ema Boateng shot from the right side of the penalty area that was redirected wide by San Jose keeper Andrew Tarbell, and the second on a Dave Romney header that Tarbell pushed away seconds later.
The Galaxy put only one more shot on target while getting shut out for the fourth consecutive game at home — also a franchise record — and for the ninth time in 25 games overall.
“It’s probably not good,” Steres said when asked about the team’s mindset afterward.
“Whatever it is, it’s not going our way. It’s up to us to make our own luck now. Our confidence is down as a team. And we’re not getting the breaks. It’s just not happening.”
Follow Kevin Baxter on Twitter @kbaxter11