LA Galaxy clinch 2022 playoff berth, but expect more as ‘best club in MLS’

The LA Galaxy have clinched a 2022 MLS Cup playoffs berth. 

The team’s 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake on Saturday at Dignity Health Sports Park secured a fourth place slot on the Western Conference table and their ticket to the postseason, ending a two-year playoff drought. 

Head coach Greg Vanney celebrated his side, before insisting the team can do better. 

“As I just said to the guys, we all signed up here to change the trajectory of this club. It’s the best club in MLS, but it’s been struggling for a number of years,” said Vanney, who took over in 2021 after coaching Toronto FC. 

“All of us signed up here with the responsibility to turn this club back into the greatest club in the league. We took one step towards that tonight – it’s a small step – to get ourselves into the playoffs.”

Goalkeeper Jonathan Bond echoed his coach’s thoughts, noting a 4W-1L-5D end-of-season stretch was not celebrated among the group. 

“It was an encouraging kind of reaction because everyone wasn’t kind of hugging and celebrating and going crazy in the locker room,” Bond said. 

“We know we’ve got another level or levels to go and to hit. We wanted to win because we’re obviously not only just looking to make the playoffs, but we felt like we could have maybe pushed for third or fourth based on the results that happened earlier in the day.

“Greg mentioned, and a few of the other boys that have been here for a while, that it has really been a difficult hurdle to overcome in the last eight or nine years…We don’t want to overlook what we achieved, but at the same time that isn’t what this club is used to. This club is used to going to the final and winning the trophy and we’re very aware of that.”

Nevertheless, the team must now shake off the mediocre results and turn their attention to the last game of the season on Decision Day as they travel to face an already-eliminated Houston Dynamo. Should the Galaxy win, the team can secure third place on the Western Conference table and the home postseason spot that comes with the slot. 

“I just said to the guys, congratulations, but we have to go to Houston like it’s a playoff game,” said Vanney. “Because sometimes I think in this league, there is a tendency for teams to make it to the playoffs, and then the foot comes off the gas a little bit. There’s a little bit of a relaxation.

“I saw it firsthand from our team in Toronto back in 2016 when it was the first time in club history, and we got into the finals, and we were terrible the next three games and we’re out. Just like that, right? So, we have to keep the mentality.”

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