MLS cup is far far away from L.A.

STEVEN SANDOR -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:31 AM ET

As the team clears out of BMO Field to make way for the U20 World Cup, TFC is still an outsider to become a force in the MLS playoff chase.

So far, the team has just one point on the road; now, it embarks on a six-game road swing that won't see it play at Exhibition Place again until July 29.

But no matter what kind of shape TFC is in when it returns home, it will likely be better off than the season's biggest surprise team, the Los Angeles Galaxy.

And I mean "surprise" in a bad way. A really, really bad way.

The Galaxy are MLS's answer to the New York Rangers. The club has the league's highest profile and usually boasts the league's highest payroll. And, year after year, the club fails to meet expectations. Only once has the Galaxy captured the MLS Cup. The Galaxy lag far behind D.C. United and the San Jose Earthquakes/Houston Dynamo franchise when it comes to on-field success.

This was the season the Galaxy were supposed to dominate; with David Beckham arriving in August and Landon Donovan, arguably the most recognized American player in the MLS, leading the attack, the Galaxy were placed as one of the favourites for the MLS Cup.

Going into last weekend, the Galaxy had just six points from eight games, tied for dead last in the league with perennially awful Real Salt Lake. The Galaxy were averaging just a goal a game.

Worse yet, L.A. was the second-lowest scoring team in the league; TFC, despite waiting until Game No. 5 on the season to actually score, long ago surpassed the Galaxy on the scoring table.

The Galaxy have also had what was supposed to be a powder-puff schedule; to maximize Beckham exposure in the MLS markets, the league gave the Galaxy a lot of home games early in the season, so the club will go on plenty of road trips when he arrives.

So when Beckham gets here, he can look forward to playing for a team that is struggling to get back in the playoff race and will have to try and steal a bunch of road games.

Even though the Galaxy play in the weaker MLS West, the new playoff format ensures the top eight teams in the league get into the postseason, regardless of where they play.

It's not what the MLS wanted, but it could be what it gets -- Beckham and the Galaxy not playing for an MLS championship, but simply playing out the string.

England has a game the same day as the MLS Cup; but chances are, Beckham and the Galaxy aren't going to have to be concerned about a conflict.

24 hours sports editor Steven Sandor has written about the Beautiful Game for numerous publications around the globe. The Red Card appears every Wednesday in 24 hours. steven.sandor@tor.sunpub.com


Videos

Photos