On the latest edition of Extratime, co-hosts Andrew Wiebe, David Gass and Calen Carr contemplated the playoff fortunes of two contenders who might be encountering struggles down the stretch: the LA Galaxy and Orlando City SC.
The Galaxy, winless in their last six, sit fourth in the West and await a Sunday night contest at Austin FC in hopes of reversing their trend (9:30 pm ET | ESPN2, ESPN Deportes). Meanwhile, Orlando have lost three straight and hold the fourth spot in the East heading into a big Saturday test at New England (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).
Straight to the point, Gass feels Orlando are in more trouble for two principal reasons.
"Without pieces in central midfield, the defenses look shaky," he assessed. "And that was their strong point last year — they were unassailable, and it's where are they going to get goals? And so now, it's shaky on both ends."
Gass, in considering the Galaxy, observed that Jonathan dos Santos could be the linchpin for his team's fortunes.
"In games that Jona has started, and he hasn't started many, they've given up more than one goal only in the El Trafico [match against LAFC] that was the wild 3-3 game," he said. "So, I'm not going to judge this backline without him in front of them to help out, until I either, one, know he's gonna be hurt the rest of the year, or I've seen them fail with him."
Carr countered with "both," focusing on the Galaxy and their defense first.
"The question has always been, 'Can they defend, can they keep clean sheets?'," he began. He cited that in the Galaxy's most recent 3-0 loss against Minnesota, that playmaker Emanuel Reynoso "just had a field day. It was just brutal him just going around and turning guys around. And he's a fantastic player, but even just in other matches I've seen the Galaxy play, just some of the goals that they've given up this year are ones where you're like, if that comes in the playoffs ... I could see the Galaxy just leaking a terrible goal in the playoffs and that being it."
"This week has been emblematic to a lot of when I see them bad," Carr declared.
For more Extratime analysis, check out the latest episode here.