Win and they are in. That is what Vancouver Whitecap players have been saying all week. As we head into the last weekend of the 2014 MLS regular season, 9 of the 10 MLS playoff spots have been claimed. Out West, the final spot will go to either the Whitecaps or their expansion cousins the Portland Timbers.
The Whitecaps have the advantage as we round the bend on the final lap of the race. The Timbers visit FC Dallas for their final game and they currently sit 1 point behind Vancouver. Sitting 4th in the West, Dallas is safely in the postseason but their final position is still to be determined. Since RSL defeated Chivas USA on Wednesday night, Dallas will need all 3 points against Portland if they hope to avoid the elimination game against the 5th seed. This means they have every reason to take the game to Portland and push for the home victory.
The Whitecaps host the Colorado Rapids who are on a 13 game winless streak. Looking at how each respective team has been playing lately it seems unlikely that the Rapids will end that winless streak in Vancouver. The Whitecaps seem to raise their game every time they play against the top teams in the league. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said when they play against the cellar dwellers. In fact the opposite can be said. This will be the second time these teams meet at BC Place this year. Back in April the Whitecaps had a comfortable 1 goal lead heading into the dying minutes of the match. Colorado midfielder Jose Mari scored 2 stunning goals shortly after Vancouver was reduced to 10 men to give the visitors the shocking 2-1 victory. This was followed up with a 2-0 loss in Colorado a few months later. The Whitecaps have failed to register a win against the likes of Chivas USA and the Rapids this season. As a result, Vancouver fans do have reason to be concerned.
The Portland/Dallas game kicks off an hour and half before the Whitecaps game so it seems likely that the ‘Caps will know exactly what is expected of them before they take to the pitch. The back line will be boosted by the return of Kendall Waston who was forced to miss last game to yellow card accumulation. David Ousted has quietly become a candidate for Goal Keeper of the Year as he earned his 12th shutout of the season last week in San Jose. While Vancouver has lacked offensive output this year their back line has been impressive and fans will be hoping that continues this weekend and potentially into the playoffs.