Los Angeles - The Major League Soccer careers of Didier
Drogba and Steven Gerrard could end without either man kicking another ball as
their teams head into nerve-wracking sudden-death playoff games starting
Two of the biggest names of the English Premier League's
golden era, Liverpool icon Gerrard joined Los Angeles Galaxy in 2015 just a few
months before Chelsea legend Drogba headed to Montreal Impact.
However, both Gerrard and Drogba's seasons are hanging by a
thread as their respective teams face knockout games this week which could end
The Galaxy face a one-off game against Real Salt Lake at the
StubHub Center in Carson on Wednesday, with Gerrard, on the mend from a recent
hamstring injury, far from certain to make the matchday squad.
Drogba's Montreal teammates, meanwhile face an awkward trip
to face D.C. United in Washington with the Ivorian striker struggling with a
Failure of the Galaxy and Montreal to negotiatate their
first-round opponents could in all probability spell the end for Gerrard and
Also read: Amid Drogba drama, Impact clinch MLS playoff berth
Gerrard, 36, fueled speculation about his future at the
weekend with a social media post interpreted in some quarters as a farewell
message to Los Angeles fans.
"Living in Los Angeles and playing for the great Galaxy
supporters has been a privilege," Gerrard wrote. "You have made this
place feel like home to me. This city and this club will always hold a special
place in my heart. Thank you."
- Liverpool return? -
It came as reports in Britain said former England captain
Gerrard had held talks with Liverpool about returning to Anfield in a coaching
Gerrard, who was in England earlier this month to undergo
treatment on his hamstring, trained separately from his Galaxy teammates on Monday
after returning to California.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, meanwhile, is bracing for a tough
test against a Salt Lake side his team took four points from in the regular
"I think we played them twice this year, beat them at
home and had a tie on the road there," Arena said. "Always a good
team. Obviously, a team we've seen before in the playoffs. We expect a tough
Drogba, meanwhile, faces an acrimonious end to a career in
Montreal that has unraveled rapidly after a successful debut season.
The 38-year-old has scored 21 goals in 32 appearances for
Montreal since making his debut for the club in August 2015.
But Drogba's first full season in the MLS this year has been
marked by tension between the player and his club, with the nadir coming on
October 16 when the striker refused to be a part of Montreal's matchday squad
after being told he would not be in the starting line-up.
Montreal President Joey Saputo insisted the feud between
Drogba and the club had been settled, though it did not prevent MLS from
hitting the player with a fine last week for the no-show.
Drogba did not play in Sunday's final regular season game --
a 3-0 away defeat to the New England Revolution -- and has complained of a back
problem which prevented him from training last week.
Impact coach Mauro Biello, who rested several first team
players from the defeat to New England, said Monday Drogba was still
complaining of a sore back, describing the forward's status as "day to
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