Last night, RSL earned their playoff spot with a draw in Portland. While it’s technically possible they could get knocked out, nothing less than 22 goals from San Jose — who would also need to win both their next matches — would knock them out, so we can assume RSL is in. Here’s a look at possible playoff positioning outcomes and who RSL might face in the Western Conference playoffs.
This seems like the most likely scenario: RSL and Portland both face Chivas next week. We can assume both teams win that match, which keeps their positioning in relation to each other. However, the Galaxy are creeping up from behind and face the Earthquakes — who need to win both their last two matches to be in the playoffs — and the Sounders. Given the Sounders current form and the Earthquakes’ form over the course of the year, it’s not hard to imagine the Galaxy winning out their remaining matches and stealing the Western Playoff crown off of the Timbers’ heads. That would put Portland and RSL in 2nd and 3rd, which would mean a playoff rematch.
If the Galaxy win one, but not both matches, they end the season with 54 points (or 55 if they draw one). Assuming both RSL and Portland win against Chivas, and the tables stay more or less the same, that leaves the Galaxy in 3rd with RSL’s 2nd/3rd place playoff match being against the Galaxy.
If the Galaxy fail to win either of their next two matches, and the Rapids win their last match against Vancouver, that would give Colorado the edge in points with 54 while the Galaxy would be stuck at 53 or lower. RSL would be facing Colorado as the third place team.
Given their current run of form and that they play their last match against LA, I’m not even considering an RSL/Seattle matchup. It’s possible — like the Rapids and Galaxy, they, too, have 51 points — but the best I think they can hope for at this point is a draw unless they pull off some serious end-of-season magic.
What about the Shield?
It’s not out of the realm of possibility, but it isn’t likely, that RSL could still win the Shield. In order to do so:
- The Timbers need to lose or draw vs. Chivas
- RSL must win vs. Chivas
- Sporting KC must lose or draw vs. Philadelphia
- New York Red Bulls must either lose one of their next two matches (Houston or Chicago) or draw both
If all those things fall in line, RSL would have 56 points with the most goals scored on the year.
And how about those Earthquakes?
The year isn’t over for San Jose. But they need to beat the Galaxy and FC Dallas to have a shot at the playoffs. However, given Seattle’s run of form, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that San Jose does just that, and Seattle is left in the cold. I’m really, really, really hoping to see Seattle — with all their big money and stars — reliving this after next weekend: