MLS Cup Playoff Race Update

FC Dallas draw at Chivas USA puts 'Caps in driver's seat

Our destiny is well and truly in our hands.

After the weekend’s matches that included FC Dallas’ shock 1-1 draw away to struggling Chivas USA, Vancouver Whitecaps FC have taken one giant step towards making the MLS Cup playoffs for the first time in club history – and the first time for a Canadian club.

The draw at The Home Depot Center would have been greeted with loud cheers from ‘Caps households around British Columbia before Thanksgiving dinner was served.

That result meant Vancouver kept a four point advantage above The Hoops in the Western Conference standings with two matches to play.

With the international break now upon us, Whitecaps FC and Dallas won’t be taking to the field until October 21 – the penultimate round of the regular season.

Vancouver tackles Portland Timbers at BC Place in the final Cascadia Cup clash of the year while Seattle plays host to Dallas just as the ‘Caps-Timbers match comes to an end. It will be the Toros first trip to Washington. In their previous two encounters in Texas, Seattle went home with a 2-0 win on May 9 before it finished all square (1-1) on September 2.

A win for Martin Rennie’s charges in front of an expectant crowd downtown against Portland will clinch Vancouver’s first-ever MLS Cup playoff berth regardless of the outcome down at CenturyLink Field.

TICKETS TO FINAL HOME MATCH (OCTOBER 21 vs. PORTLAND)

If Whitecaps FC can only manage a draw, then supporters must have their mobile devices on hand to check in for updates from the Seattle-Dallas match. If Dallas fail to obtain three points, then it’s party time on Granville.

But let’s face it: It will be awesome if the ‘Caps can win their first Cascadia Cup match in MLS in front of their thousands of faithful followers, on Fan Appreciation Day no less.

Meanwhile, it’s been a forgetful year in Oregon, but Portland can still salvage something from the season in the form of the Cascadia Cup, which comes overflowing with bragging rights throughout the Pacific Northwest.

The Timbers were humbled 3-0 by the Sounders at CenturyLink Field on Sunday night, which means they must now beat Whitecaps FC to clinch the regional trophy.

So disregard Portland’s position in the Conference table for this intriguing encounter.  If you believe the battle with the Timbers – who haven’t won since August 31 – is going to be a cakewalk, think again, because there’s something on the line for both teams.

Should the footballing gods choose to frown upon ‘Caps nation come October 21, then it will all come down to October 28 when Vancouver travels to Real Salt Lake – who are fighting for second spot – while Dallas - who are unlikely to repeat Sunday’s effort – welcome Chivas to Frisco.

THE RACE FOR SECOND, THIRD AND FOURTH

Judging by the weekend’s results, it appears Real Salt Lake and Seattle will be vying for second spot. RSL enjoyed a 2-1 road win against Los Angeles Galaxy to retain second spot on 55 points while the Sounders cut down the Timbers to jump into third place (52 points). It is worth noting Seattle also has a game in hand on RSL and the Galaxy and it plays its next two matches at CenturyLink Field.

Seattle hosts RSL on October 17 in a match that will go a long way in deciding second place. Should the two sides finish level on points, Goals For will be taken into account, with the Sounders having two more goals to their name.

It’s going to be a testing few weeks for the Galaxy (fourth with 50 points, 32 games played), who travel to San Jose (October 21) before hosting the Sounders in the season finale on October 28. In between is a CONCACAF Champions League date against Isidro Melapan in El Salvador.

Your brain is probably swirling with endless hypotheticals in regards to standings and results, but try and enjoy the relatively calm international break.

Because from October 17 to October 28, things are gonna get crazy out here in the wild, wild West.