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Galaxy now plays the waiting game

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After their loss Sunday to end the regular season, the Galaxy now waits to see which wild-card team it will face in the Western Conference semifinals starting next weekend.

Despite losing to the Houston Dynamo, 3-1, the Galaxy (19-5-10, 67 points) already had clinched the Supporters’ Shield for the best record in Major League Soccer and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

And this year’s final match to win the MLS Cup is Nov. 20 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, the Galaxy’s home.

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Under MLS’ 10-team playoff format, the top three teams in each conference automatically qualify and the next four teams, regardless of conference, play wild-card games to reach the semifinals.

The top three teams in the Western Conference were the Galaxy, Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake.

In the Eastern Conference, the three are Sporting Kansas City, the Dynamo and the Philadelphia Union.

The four wild-card teams are FC Dallas, the defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids, the Columbus Crew and the New York Red Bulls.

Thus, the wild-card matchups feature FC Dallas hosting New York on Wednesday and Colorado playing at home against Columbus on Thursday in single-elimination games.

Then, in the conference semifinals, the Galaxy will play the lower-seeded winner of the wild-card games in two matches starting Sunday on the road. And in the East, Sporting Kansas City will play the higher-seeded wild-card winner Saturday or Sunday.

The conference championship games to decide the MLS Cup teams are scheduled for Nov. 6.

In its loss to the Dynamo at Robertson Stadium in Houston on Sunday, the Galaxy rested star players David Beckham and Landon Donovan ahead of the playoffs. In the last five games of the regular season, the Galaxy had three wins and two losses.

But the Galaxy ended the regular season unbeaten at the Home Depot Center, with a record of 12-0-5.

Also in the Western Conference semifinals, the Seattle Sounders will play Real Salt Lake. In the Eastern Conference, the Dynamo — which enters the postseason with a six-game unbeaten streak — takes on Philadelphia in a semifinal series.

Seattle is hoping that midfielder Mauro Rosales is sound for the playoffs after the Argentine reinjured his right knee in the Sounders’ 3-1 win over Chivas USA on Saturday at the Home Depot Center.

But Real Salt Lake is limping into the playoffs, having gone its last six matches without a victory, including Saturday’s game at home in which they allowed the Portland Timbers to score a late goal and a earn a 1-1 tie.

james.peltz@latimes.com


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