Galaxy goalkeeper Jon Kempin is either the world's most optimistic person, or he's really bad at math. Even as his team was slogging through a three-month span that saw it win once in 15 games, Kempin continued to insist the team had a shot at the playoffs.
"I keep saying playoffs and people keep laughing at me," Kempin said. "At the end of the day if you don't have that in your mind, how can you go into a game and try to win?"
Even Kempin's narrow road to the postseason will shut permanently on Wednesday if the Galaxy don't beat the Dynamo in Houston (SSN, Spectrum Deportes, 5:30 PDT). But if that happens – and the odds are long since the Galaxy haven't won a road game in three months – that's just the beginning of a complex list of things that have to take place to stave off playoff elimination.
The Galaxy (7-17-6) would also have to win their final three games; Houston, Dallas and San Jose would all have to lose the rest of theirs; and the Galaxy would have to make up most or all of a -21 goal differential.
Given the number of injuries, the Galaxy might do better to cut their losses and start planning for next year. In Sunday's loss to Sporting Kansas City, midfielder Joao Pedro came out in the first half with a hamstring issue, joining six other key players on the sideline with injuries.
As a result, Sigi Schmid hasn't used the same lineup twice since taking over as coach in July. Sunday he used forward Gyasi Zardes on the back line, where injuries have cost him four players.
"We needed a right back. We had nobody and I think Gyasi's strength is wide, whether it's a midfielder or in the back," Schmid said. "Today, he was helping me out as much as anything else."
Even with the playoffs out of reach, the Galaxy still have some goals to chase. Or rather avoid. They need seven points – from a maximum 12 – in their final four games to avoid finishing with the worst record in franchise history. And they need to hold opponents to fewer than five goals to keep from breaking the mark for most goals allowed.