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Galaxy qualifies for playoffs with 0-0 tie with Earthquakes

There was nothing for the Galaxy to celebrate until its game ended Sunday night.

Seeking its third consecutive Major League Soccer title, the Galaxy played to a 0-0 tie with the San Jose Earthquakes at StubHub Center, good enough for the Galaxy to clinch another playoff berth.

The Galaxy (15-11-7) is in third place in the MLS Western Conference with 52 points with one game left in its regular season, against the Sounders in Seattle on Sunday.

The Portland Timbers lead the conference with 54 points and Real Salt Lake is second with 53. Those two teams, along with Seattle, have clinched spots in the playoffs.

The Galaxy had hoped to defeat San Jose (13-11-9) so that the three points for the victory would have lifted the Galaxy into a tie for first place.

The team was happy to get the one point in the tie with San Jose to reach the postseason, but it was business as usual in the Galaxy's locker room after the game.

"Obviously, that's the main aim, to get to the playoffs, but disappointed not to get the three points," forward Robbie Keane said.

Keane said "the game was there to be taken" against the Earthquakes in the late stages.

"To be fair to them, they played well, they had a few chances, it could have gone either way," Keane said. "If we had had more composure, I think, in the last 15 minutes, I think we certainly could have gotten the three points. But it is what it is."

The Galaxy was back at nearly full strength after having had several players injured or on international duty.

Defender Omar Gonzalez, for instance, played 73 minutes after being hobbled by a left hip strain. But he left after developing cramps, Coach Bruce Arena said.

Primary goalkeeper Jaime Penedo returned after playing with Panama's national team. And if there was one Galaxy player who stood out Sunday, it was Penedo, who made two key saves.

In the 27th minute, forward Steven Lenhart headed a shot that an outstretched Penedo blocked to his right.

And in the 41st minute, Penedo saved another header from forward Chris Wondolowski from 15 yards.

"It was important for us to get out there and get a point so we can get into the playoffs," Penedo said through an interpreter. "Now it's a matter of keeping it going."

The Galaxy had a few chances to score, including a shot by Marcelo Sarvas in the 83rd minute that was blocked by goalkeeper Jon Busch as he fell to his left.

And in the 36th minute, midfielder Michael Stephens kicked a curling, right-to-left shot from 15 yards, but it sailed well over the net.

The Galaxy's Landon Donovan will have to wait one more game in his quest to set the all-time MLS regular-season scoring record. He's tied with Jeff Cunningham with 134 goals.

james.peltz@latimes.com

Twitter: @PeltzLATimes

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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