With four of five playoff competitors from the West already settled (although not quite sorted), the left side of the conference alignment hasn’t been as convoluted down the stretch as the right side.
San Jose, Real Salt Lake, Seattle and the L.A. Galaxy have qualified. Vancouver has its paws on the final berth, with just a little resistance still to put down from FC Dallas.
Schellas Hyndman’s men from Texas have two matches remaining, including tonight’s at CenturyLink Field. They’ll probably need wins in both contests just for a chance, but Vancouver can squash that remaining playoff light with a win over Portland tonight in Canada.
In fact, there’s more on the line: Portland can still claim a little joy in a season packed with woe by winning tonight and claiming the Cascadia Cup. This will be the Timbers third and last chance to claim that prize, which management and fans desperately want.
From the Whitecaps’ side, it’s about nailing down that post-season berth. It really would be quite an accomplishment considering this is Vancouver’s second year in MLS. Besides, this would be the first MLS playoff appearance from a Canadian side, again quite an accomplishment considering Toronto has been bumbling and stumbling around the league since 2007.
San Jose hosts the Galaxy, and it should be as fun as always between the pair of feisty California rivals – even the if the match possibly will not amount to much in the standings. The Galaxy can still climb past Seattle into third place, therefore dodging that extra playoff match. But Seattle has the inside track in keeping that one, all things considered.
San Jose, meanwhile, has clinched the Supporters Shield. That has looked like a foregone conclusion for weeks now, and Frank Yallop’s team sealed the deal last night when Sporting Kansas City failed to claim all the points against New York.
Circling back to Seattle …The Sounders will be without their boss, Sigi Schmid, for tonight’s contest. He was suspended and fined for comments regarding referee Ricardo Salazar.