Let’s talk about what we mean by “on the brink” in that headline.
I know we’re not supposed to talk about The Headline in this way (the internet’s equivalent of a fourth wall), but anybody familiar with the scenarios knows “on the brink” is a huge understatement. It gives the impression that the Earthquakes can still make the playoffs, and while that’s true, it will take a scenario so outlandish that police investigations into gambling influences will commence if San Jose’s playing beyond next Saturday …
Because here’s what needs to happen:
- San Jose needs to beat Dallas at Buck Shaw, scoring at least 12 goals in the process.
- If they only score 12 goals, Colorado will need to lose by at least seven in Vancouver without scoring a goal.
- That would put San Jose and Colorado even on points, wins (first tiebreaker) and goals (second tiebreaker).
- The playoff spot would then come down to goal difference, which would depend on how many goals San Jose allowed in their 12-X romp.
- The next tiebreaker, discipline points, favors Colorado.
- If, however, San Jose scores 13, they could pass Colorado on goals scored, provided Vancouver wins at BC Place. The Rapids will go into next weekend with 45. San Jose’s scored 32.
As you can see, San Jose — who entered the night four back of the fifth place Rapids — is done. If they’re “on the brink,” it’s only mathematically; not practically.
The Galaxy, however, are in. Their point leaves them with 52, though they could still finish anywhere from first to fifth in the conference.
Win next Sunday in Seattle, and they’ll pass whichever of Portland (first, 54 points) or Real Salt Lake (second, 53) fail to beat Chivas USA (both teams close their seasons with the Goats).
If LA draws in Seattle, the best they can do is third (unless RSL loses to Chivas and scores three fewer goals than Los Angeles next weekend). The Sounders won’t pass them, but Colorado can with a win in Vancouver. If that happens, Seattle and LA will fly to StubHub for an elimination leg of an unlikely home-and-home.
If LA loses in Seattle, they can finish no higher than fourth place, and if the Rapids knock off the Whitecaps, the defending champions are off to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the West’s winner-take-all playoff opener.