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Oct 20, 2013

Galaxy clinch playoff berth with draw

CARSON, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Galaxy clinched a playoff berth with a scoreless draw against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday night.

The Galaxy (15-11-7) are third in the Western Conference, two points behind Portland and one back of Real Salt Lake. They were eliminated from contention for the Supporters' Shield, which goes to the team with the best regular-season record.

Seattle also secured a playoff spot with the result, and will take on Los Angeles in a regular-season finale next Sunday night. The Galaxy have won the last two MLS Cups.

"A hard-fought contest, kind of like a playoff atmosphere," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. "San Jose played a good game, the kind of game we thought they'd play, and in the end it's probably a fair result."

Asked about the playoff berth, Arena cracked: "Oh, I'm just doing cartwheels over that."

The Earthquakes (13-11-9) are sixth in the West, three points behind Seattle and Colorado. The top five teams in each conference make the playoffs.

San Jose reaches the postseason if Colorado loses to Vancouver next weekend and the Earthquakes beat FC Dallas while scoring at least 13 goals, more if the Rapids score.

"We've got a very disappointed locker room right now," San Jose coach Mark Watson said. "We'll approach (next week's) game trying to score as many goals as possible, but I think we've put ourselves in a very difficult position."

Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez returned to the lineup for the Galaxy, who had more of the ball and the better play but struggled to create chances. Their best opportunity was in the 83rd minute, when Marcelo Sarvas forced a leaping stop from goalkeeper Jon Busch.

Los Angeles thought it deserved a penalty kick when Gyasi Zardes went down in San Jose's box after a challenge from Walter Martinez, but referee Baldomero Toledo made no call.

The Earthquakes had four legitimate scoring chances, all in the first half, and were pressing in the final minutes. Clarence Goodson's diving header from a free kick rolled just past the right post in the 15th minute.

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