CARSON -- They'll be gathered around their televisions, with more than a passing interest in what they see: The Galaxy tune into Wednesday evening's -- and perhaps Thursday's -- telecasts of Major League Soccer's wild-card eager to see where they're heading this weekend.
New York plays Wednesday at FC Dallas, and if the Red Bulls win, L.A. will be in Harrison, N.J., on Sunday. If not, the winner of Thursday's Columbus at Colorado tilt will be home for the first leg of the first-round series against the Galaxy.
Who are they rooting for?
“I don't care,” midfielder Mike Magee said after L.A.'s training session Wednesday at Home Depot Center. “Our first game is going to be on the road, and I don't really care where we are. ... We'll play anywhere against anyone.”
That's the consensus, but it's not universal. Just ask Todd Dunivant, the Galaxy's star left back, who hails from Wheat Ridge, Colo., just a few miles west of Denver.
“I 100 percent have a rooting interest,” he said. “I want to go home to Colorado. I would love to play them. ... Colorado means going home, and that's what I'm rooting for.”
He might want to pack some snow shoes. An overnight storm dumped at least a foot of snow through the area, and DSG Park in Commerce City, Colo., was covered by the fluffy stuff when Rapids staff arrived Wednesday morning. It has been plowed out of the way, and although there's a possibility of more snow Wednesday night, temperatures are expected to reach the low 40s before Thursday's clash with the Crew.
The forecast calls for clear weather with a high of 52 and low of 31 on Sunday.
“I had some snow games [growing up], but you kind of get used to it,” said Dunivant, an MLS Best XI candidate enjoying his finest season as a pro. “Colorado's funny, man. It can be snowing one day, and the next day it can be 60 and the snow can melt away.”
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said he'd watch the games while taking “mental notes of what's going on, because we're going to play them.” He also doesn't care whom his team is matched up with.
“My opinion: Whoever you're drawn to, you're going to have to play well,” he said. “We know in this league the margin's not that great from top to bottom, so they're all going to be competitive games, and you have to be prepared to play your best.”
Not knowing which of three teams will be the opponent isn't a big deal.
“It doesn't impact anything,” Arena said. “Our focus is on our team, trying to move the team along. Some guys have had a little bit of rest now, they're a little sluggish, and we have to get them back in the full swing of training, have them ready to play.”
The atmosphere in training was heightened Tuesday and Wednesday, the players say, as what they consider a new season dawns. Winning the regular-season title, as L.A. did with a 19-5-10 record, is nice, but it means nothing here.
The Galaxy won the Western Conference title in 2009 and reached the MLS Cup final, losing on penalties to Real Salt Lake, which was 11-12-7 in the regular season. L.A. was the Supporters' Shield winner last year, but Colorado captured the MLS Cup title after a 12-8-10 campaign. RSL and Colorado had finished fifth in the West.
“I think everyone's ready to go,” Magee said. “You can kind of tell, because you know tensions are getting a bit high and training is getting a little bit more intense, and we've been planning this for the last 10 months. ... We've realized [the playoffs are a new competition] in the last couple of years, that the regular season doesn't mean anything. Last year we won the Supporters' Shield, and then we got crushed at home by Dallas. If you win the Supporters' Shield but don't win the MLS Cup, it seems kind of lost.”
WORTH NOTING: The Galaxy's game Sunday could begin at noon, 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. PT, depending on where they're playing. If it's New York, it's a noon game (on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes). Columbus would be a 5 p.m. start (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes). Colorado would be a 6 p.m. kickoff (ESPN and ESPN Deportes). ... Arena said Landon Donovan, coming back from a quadriceps injury, was “getting there” and that he would “hopefully” be ready to play at close to full strength on Sunday. “We'll just get through the next couple of days.” ... Irish forward Robbie Keane trained fully Wednesday, but his status for Sunday is uncertain. “We'll just have to see how he reacts coming off today's training and see if he gets positioned to be able to play this weekend,” Arena said. “If not, I think he'll be ready for the next game,” the second leg on Nov. 3 at Home Depot Center.