Even though the Colorado Rapids are idle this weekend, the team knows they'll hold on to their playoff spot in Western Conference standings come Monday - no matter how any of the nine MLS weekend games go.
With 45 points after 30 games (12-9-9) the Rapids are currently tied with LA for final playoff spot in the West. Vancouver and San Jose are tied for sixth at 41 points each, followed closely by Dallas with 40 points.
While Colorado can't lose their spot, they could lose ground or have teams close the gap with four games to go.
Only Chivas USA has been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs from the West. Toronto and DC have been eliminated in the East. The rest are all alive and fighting to finish in the top five to secure their place in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
There are five games to watch this weekend that will have an impact on the West standings:
- Vancouver vs Real Salt Lake (Saturday): If RSL wins, Vancouver stays four behind the Rapids. However, a Whitecaps win means the Rapids could still catch and surpass RSL in the standings. A draw wouldn't be too bad, either. But remember, the Rapids close out the season with back-to-back games against the Whitecaps, so it would be nice to have a comfortable cushion heading into those final games.
- Portland vs LA Galaxy (Sunday): LA is even with Colorado on 45 points while Portland is just one point above. A draw this weekend means both teams would remain within one Colorado win.
- Dallas vs Columbus (Sunday): A Dallas loss would keep them five points back.
- Seattle vs New York (Sunday): A battle of the top two teams - in terms of points. The Supporters Shield would remain within reach with a tie, though a Seattle loss keeps them only five points ahead of Colorado in the West.
- Chivas USA vs San Jose: Chivas has played much better of late. If they can keep SJ to a point - or beat them - it would be more breathing room for Colorado.
One thing to keep in mind: Seattle could become the first team in the West to clinch a playoff spot. They'll do so if they beat NY, if Columbus beats Dallas, and if San Jose loses to Chivas USA (all three need to happen).
Here's the complete weekend schedule:
Friday, September 27
Sporting Kansas City vs. Philadelphia Union, 6 p.m. MT (NBC Sports Network)
Saturday, September 28
Toronto FC vs. D.C. United, 11 a.m. MT MLS Live
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Real Salt Lake, 5 p.m. MT MLS Live
New England Revolution vs. Houston Dynamo, 5:30 p.m. MT MLS Live
Chicago Fire vs. Montreal Impact, 6:30 p.m. MT MLS Live
Sunday, September 29
Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy, 1:30 p.m. MT (NBC)
FC Dallas vs. Columbus Crew, 6:30 p.m. MT MLS Live
Seattle Sounders FC vs. New York Red Bulls, 7 p.m. MT (ESPN)
Chivas USA vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 9 p.m. MT (UniMas)