CARSON — The road to 2024 is officially underway for the Galaxy.
After being eliminated from playoff contention with last Saturday’s 5-2 loss at Minnesota United, the Galaxy is left to play to the role of spoiler with two games remaining, including Saturday’s penultimate game of the season against Real Salt Lake.
As has been the situation this season, the Galaxy (8-13-12) enjoyed success, but in the end was forced to settle for a 2-2 draw in front of 20,673 at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Dejan Joveljic scored in the seventh minute and Douglas Costa scored in the 34th minute to give the Galaxy a 2-0 lead. The lead was cut in half just before halftime as RSL’s Anderson Julio’s deflected shot went past Galaxy goalkeeper Novak Micovic.
“We want to keep the competitive spirit and the energy alive,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said during the week leading to Saturday’s game. “Like I said to our guys, I’ve been impressed and appreciative of the character that they’ve shown over the course of this season in the face of a lot of challenges.”
RSL would eventually take advantage of a failed clearance in the 76th minute, leading to Diego Luna’s game-tying goal. RSL is in the playoff chase and turned up the heat on the Galaxy in the second half, but Micovic was able to keep the third goal from scoring.
“The guys have battled,” Vanney said. “I think back to a game a couple of weeks ago on the road, Austin I think, and we battled until the end and four guys dropped on the field (at the end) because they had given everything they had. I think guys have done that and we fell short …ultimately we didn’t get it done enough to get into the playoffs, but I want us to remain true to the character that we have expressed over the course of the season.”
This season’s elimination from the playoff contention with two games remaining was the earliest for the Galaxy in a full season since 2017. That team, which started the season coached by Curt Onalfo, but finished with Sigi Schmid back in charge after replacing Onalfo in July. That season was also the first since 2008 that saw the Galaxy miss the playoffs.
Now, as the 2023 season comes to an end, the Galaxy have yet to put together back-to-back playoff seasons and have missed the postseason in five of the last seven seasons.
The final chapter on this season will be written Saturday at home against FC Dallas and then another important off-season will begin.
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