LAFC are in.
The Black & Gold became the first team to book a spot in the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs, mathematically securing their place Saturday night thanks to other Western Conference results and despite a 2-1 loss at the San Jose Earthquakes snapping their seven-game win streak.
First-year head coach Steve Cherundolo’s team is atop the Supporters’ Shield race through Week 26, a stark turnaround from when they missed the playoffs a year ago under now-Toronto FC head coach and sporting director Bob Bradley.
LAFC made the playoffs every year from 2018-20 upon their expansion launch, including winning the Supporters’ Shield in 2019. They’ve suffered two Round One exits and lost in the Conference Finals once.
With a deep star-studded roster that includes Carlos Vela and summertime signings Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini, LAFC are on pace to break the all-time MLS points record (73) the New England Revolution set during the 2021 campaign. LAFC’s 2019 squad held the previous record at 72.
MLS Cup 2022 is set for Nov. 5, while the playoffs will get underway in October. The timeline takes into consideration the FIFA 2022 World Cup starting Nov. 20 in Qatar, rather than the event's typical summer months.