First place within Galaxy's reach

The Los Angeles Galaxy are pretty much right where they want to be at this point of the season. Thanks to a little help from the Eastern Conference, the Galaxy were the only Western Conference team to win last weekend. They defeated West rival Real Salt Lake and moved to within one point of conference leader FC Dallas.

With a game in hand on Dallas, and a showdown set for this Saturday between the two sides, the Galaxy are poised to claim the top spot out West. Standing in their way is a midweek clash against a desperate Colorado side who will be trying to prevent the Galaxy from leapfrogging the Hoops.

For goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who's posted three shutouts in his last four games, the Galaxy have done what they needed to do at home. Now they need to duplicate that on the road.

"We're just trying to go game to game and put ourselves in a good position," said Hartman. "I think we've done that thus far."

With any kind of road result in Denver, the Galaxy will be tied for first at the very least. With a win, they'll take a two-point lead with them to the Cotton Bowl. The math hasn't been lost on the Galaxy either.

"With this game on Wednesday it's important to get three points," said striker Jovan Kirovski. "Especially going into Dallas. We can really get a big lead if we can go in there and get another three points."

Those are two really big ifs for Los Angeles considering their recent record on the road. Nonetheless, head coach Steve Sampson's hopes for the next two games are quite simple.

"Our goal is that at the end of this week we're in first place," the Galaxy boss said.

If the Galaxy can win their first two games this season away from The Home Depot Center this week, the Green and Gold will get on a plane bound for Los Angeles with a five-point lead in the standings. Yet while Saturday night's match has the making of a marquee game, the Galaxy can't afford to look past Wednesday night in Denver. Still, the Galaxy knows which game the entire league will have their eyes on.

"It could be a showdown of the two best in the west," said Sampson. "No offense to the rest of the league, but as of right now, the Galaxy and Dallas are showing the best form in the West."

With the midway point of the season quickly approaching, the Galaxy are hoping two wins this week put them in pole position to begin the road back to another MLS Cup.

Greg Daurio is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

Stay connected: Get access to breaking news, videos, and analysis from North America's best soccer reporters via "This Week in MLS" newsletter or using our FREE mobile app.