While the Los Angeles Galaxy have been frustrated with their play for some time now, it's possible desperation is starting to sink in.
Below playoff line in the Western Conference and winless in their last four games, the Galaxy look to find some way to end this slow bleed on Sunday night against visiting Sporting Kansas City.
There was a time when Los Angeles (13-13-3) was among the top two teams in the West, but mired in a 1-5-2 stretch, it's in danger of missing the playoffs for a third consecutive season. The Galaxy, who enter the weekend just below the playoff line in the West, will try to avoid a third straight defeat after concluding an 0-2-1 road stretch with a 2-1 loss at Colorado on Wednesday.
After Giancarlo Gonzalez equalized with a goal in the 82nd minute, the Rapids went ahead on Nicolas Mequida's successful penalty attempt three minutes later. The Galaxy thought they might be awarded a penalty in stoppage time, but nothing was called on a 50-50 ball scenario featuring defender Rolf Feltscher and Colorado's Danny Wilson.
Like last season, when a playoff-berth came down to the final games of 2018, L.A. finds itself in a potentially the same situation and essentially with little room for anything to go wrong.
"We have to deal with it," Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimović told the club's official website. "Win the games, try to (get in) the playoffs. But, I think it will be very difficult because when everybody plays against us, they give 200 percent and we have to be better than what we are."
What L.A. is at the moment is an inconsistent side that's conceded 20 goals in the last seven league matches and held to one against the Rapids after totaling six in the previous two contests. If there is an immediate ray of light, it's that the Galaxy return home, where they are 2-0-1 in their last three.
Los Angeles will play three of its final five games on its home ground, so the potential to accumulate points some pretty good - in theory.
The Galaxy also have a chance to do the season double over Sporting Kansas City (10-12-7) after Ibrahimović (23 goals, four assists) recorded a goal with an assist in a 2-0 road victory on May 29.
Sporting sits five points back of the Galaxy in the West, and looks to rebound from last weekend's 2-1 loss at Portland that snapped the squad's season-high three-game winning streak. Benny Feilhaber put Kansas City up 1-0 in the 65th minute, but the Timbers equalized in the 83rd and won it in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
"We're in a position where we have to get points every game, and obviously (last weekend) we had a chance there late and we weren't able to come up with anything," said Feilhaber, who has scored twice the over the last four matches.
Though SKC has lost back-to-back road games, it's won the last two meetings at Los Angeles and earned seven of a possible nine points in the last three trips there.