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LA Galaxy has chance to clinch playoff spot against RSL

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The Los Angeles Galaxy look to clinch a Western Conference playoff spot when they face Real Salt Lake on Saturday night at Carson, Calif.

The Galaxy (13-12-7, 46 points) are tied for fifth in the West and are three points clear of eighth-place Real Salt Lake (11-11-10, 43 points). The teams have two matches remaining.

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Los Angeles helped its cause with back-to-back victories over the Colorado Rapids and San Jose Earthquakes.

“It continues to build the momentum and confidence that you want down the stretch when you’re going into the two most important games in a season, which is to close things out,” Galaxy coach Craig Vanney said. “It puts us in a position where you never know, we could fight for a home game in the playoffs. You’ve got to keep building momentum and keep working on our performances.”

Real Salt Lake could be eliminated with a loss on Saturday, depending on the results of a few other teams in the West.

Regardless, RSL is fading with an 0-3-1 mark over their last four matches, most recently falling 2-1 to visiting FC Cincinnati on Sept. 17.

In RSL’s only competition since, it fell 2-1 to Atlas FC of Liga MX in a friendly on Sept. 22.

“We wanted to win, but it’s not going to affect us too much going into (the game against the Galaxy),” defender Aaron Herrera said. “Once we get all our guys back from the international break and start fine-tuning things for LA, it’s all eyes on that, and this game won’t matter.”

RSL will certainly need to slow down Galaxy star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez on Saturday.

Chicharito scored two goals in a 3-2 victory over the host San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday. He has three goals over the last two matches and has 17 goals for the second straight season.

“You want your striker to be hot at this time of year, that’s for sure,” Vanney said. “He’s finding good spots, finding them with the ball. He’s putting them in the back of the net, that breeds a lot of confidence for him and for the group, so that’s always positive.”

Chicharito revealed Thursday that he will be back with the Galaxy in 2023. He said he met a contract clause based on goals and playing time.

“When I reach 11 goals and 60 percent of the minutes, it automatically renews,” said Chicharito, who has played 2,446 minutes.

Sergio Corbova leads RSL with eight goals.

Salt Lake beat the visiting Galaxy 1-0 on April 30.

–Field Level Media

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