The Galaxy put playoff tickets on sale Thursday, but given the state of the team’s injury-riddled roster there’s no guarantee that those buying tickets will get to see a game.
The team trained Thursday without forward Robbie Keane, who has sat out practice this week because of an undisclosed injury, while midfielder Steven Gerrard, slowed by a hamstring problem, was given permission to return to Liverpool to visit his family. Galaxy President Chris Klein said Gerrard is expected back in Southern California on Friday but it’s unlikely either he or Keane will suit up for Sunday’s regular-season road finale at Houston.
Midfielder Giovani dos Santos, who returned Thursday from 10 days with the Mexican national team, also was held out of training with the first team though he is expected to play at Houston, where the Galaxy will look to end a season-high two-game losing streak.
The Galaxy, who clinched their eighth consecutive playoff bid two weeks ago, are third in the Western Conference standings and will host a first-round playoff game Oct. 26 or 27 if they stay there. But a loss combined with wins by the Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake would drop the Galaxy to fifth with one regular-season game to play, leaving them to face the possibility of a playoff elimination game on the road, where they’ve won only three of 16 games.
“It’s not impossible but the task gets a lot harder,” Landon Donovan, who might get his first start of the season Sunday, said of playing without Keane and Gerrard.
“If we’re not careful, we end up in fifth or sixth, then not only are we barely in the playoffs, but we’re traveling as well.”
A late-season collapse last year forced the Galaxy to open the playoffs on the road, where they lost, marking their earliest postseason exit since 2008.