Surprisingly well-received by fans, and surprising (perhaps) for the success MLS teams are enjoying, the SuperLiga is (rightly) garnering all the attention in American soccer recently. However, after all is said and done, David Beckham's left ankle should be just about healed, and the attention surrounding MLS will inevitably revert back to the question that hung over the former England captain's arrival: can Becks can save the Galaxy.
It's a much bigger task than many realize, says Steve Davis, writing for MLSNet. Statistically, MLS teams need between 41 and 47 points to qualify for the postseason. The Galaxy has 13 points in 12 matches. Of course the Galaxy does have a lot of catching up to do in terms of games in hand despite the poor record -- but it's a gruelingly overcrowded second-half schedule at best. The new format for qualification doesn't favor the Galaxy either: this season, the top two teams from each conference qualify automatically, while the remaining four places are up for grabs for the next highest point earners. An incredibly tight Eastern Conference could easily yield all four of those teams.
Also, Davis points out that for L.A. to reach the required 42 points, the Galaxy would have to take 29 points from their final 18 games, 14 of which are away. An 8-4-6 record would get them there, but for a team that performs as poorly away from home as L.A., and in a league as evenly balanced as MLS, that's far easier said than done.