From a strictly mathematical standpoint, the challenge facing the Galaxy as it reaches the halfway point of the Major League Soccer season is daunting.
If the other 12 teams in the league each win only half of their remaining games, the Galaxy will need to go no worse than 10-5-1 in the 16 games it has left to reach the playoffs. Even that might not be good enough.
Today, the Galaxy plays the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The Galaxy is 3-6-5 -- the second-worst record in the league -- so going 10-5-1 the rest of the way is a lot to ask, with or without David Beckham.
On Saturday, indications were that Beckham might play only a limited role today, if he plays at all. At an afternoon news conference, the England star said his left ankle is again bothering him.
"My ankle flared up a bit after the game the other day, and it's swollen up a little bit from flying," Beckham said. "We'll have to see how it is. It was fine running out there a little bit, but that's all I really tried on the field."
Beckham did not scrimmage with the rest of the Galaxy players Saturday, confining himself to some jogging, stretching and a few dead-ball kicks.
He played 20 minutes in the second half of the Galaxy's 1-0 loss at D.C. United on Thursday and said after his MLS debut that he hoped to play a greater role today, against D.C. United in the SuperLiga semifinal on Wednesday at the Home Depot Center and against the New York Red Bulls at Giants Stadium on Saturday.
He said he expected to play "maybe half a game on Sunday, then a little bit more in the next game, then hopefully a full game in New York."
But the still-suspect left ankle remains a concern and whether he is willing to risk it on Gillette Stadium's artificial surface was unclear. Beckham said last week that he dislikes playing on synthetic fields, although he did apologize for identifying one manufacturer by name in his comments.
Beckham's limited minutes against D.C. United also showed that he is far from being fit for games, not surprising since he has not played a full game in more than two months and has not trained since arriving in the U.S. one month ago.
"I give him a lot of credit for getting out there and playing," D.C. United and U.S. national team midfielder Ben Olsen said after Thursday's game, "because he's not right. You can see he's still limping a little bit and he's not 100%."
The Revolution, which leads the Eastern Conference, has sold out today's game, although it did limit capacity to 32,000, using only the stadium's lower deck and luxury suites. Coach Steve Nicol said whether Beckham plays will not affect his team's approach.
"They've got some good players, not just Beckham," Nicol said. ""We're not going out of our way to change too much. We know that if Beckham plays he has to be looked after."
While Beckham is questionable, the Galaxy definitely will be without midfielder Kyle Martino because of the red card he received for a hard foul against D.C. United. The injured Cobi Jones also remains doubtful.
at New England, 4 PDT FSNW and Galavision
Site -- Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.
Radio -- 1700, 830 (Spanish).
Records -- Galaxy 3-6-5, New England 9-4-6.
Record vs. New England -- 0-1.
Update -- The Revolution rallied to defeat the Galaxy, 3-2, at the Home Depot Center in May behind two goals by U.S. national team striker Taylor Twellman.