What are Whitecaps FC's playoff chances?

Examining Vancouver's playoff chances with 10 matches to go

VANCOUVER, BC – The push for the playoffs is officially on.

With just 10 matches remaining in the regular season, Vancouver Whitecaps FC sit in sole possession of the fifth and final playoff position with 33 points. That’s two points up on Portland Timbers, Vancouver’s opponent this weekend, though the ‘Caps have a game in hand.

Kickoff for Saturday's match vs. the Timbers is set for 7:30 p.m. PT at BC Place  TV: TSN1  RADIO: TEAM 1410  MOBILE: bell.ca/mobiletv  ONLINE: TSN GO

According to Sports Club Stats’ weighted method, which predicts the scores of the remaining games taking into account home field advantage and team records, there’s a 64.2 per cent chance that Whitecaps FC will qualify for the playoffs at this point in the season.

There are several different scenarios that could still play out – seventh-place Colorado Rapids are still in contention – but it looks that Vancouver and Portland will be front and centre in the race for the West’s final playoff spot.

With that in mind, we break down their remaining schedules below.

 

Home matches remaining

Away matches remaining

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

6

4

Portland Timbers

4

5

 

Remaining matches vs.
playoff teams

Remaining matches vs.
non-playoff teams

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

5

5

Portland Timbers

5

4

 

Combined record vs. remaining opponents in 2014

Strength of remaining
opponents*

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

3W-3L-3D

1.35

Portland Timbers

2W-4L-1D

1.36

* Average points per game of remaining opponents (higher the number, more difficult the opponent)

As illustrated, the ‘Caps and Timbers have very similar schedules remaining. Both teams have at least one match to go against Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, and San Jose Earthquakes. They also play each other twice – the result of those matches could very well determine who claims that final playoff spot.

So what do the ‘Caps need to do to qualify for the post-season? Ultimately, that will depend on what Portland does as well. But as it stands, Vancouver’s “magic number” is 26. That means that any combination of points gained by Whitecaps FC and points lost by the Timbers adding up to 26 will get them into the playoffs.

For example, if the ‘Caps win five of their last 10 matches and the Timbers drop 11 points (three losses and a draw), that would do it. But there are a number of different scenarios.  

Also of note, Whitecaps FC have two more meetings with second-place FC Dallas, who are currently tied with Real Salt Lake with 42 points – nine more than the 'Caps. However, the strength of Dallas’ remaining opponents (1.54 points per game average) is the highest in the league. They’ve also played one more game than Vancouver.

If Whitecaps FC can come away with a result in both meetings, there’s still a chance they could catch FC Dallas and potentially finish higher than fifth.

Whether or not that happens, it’s shaping up to be an interesting couple of months. Here are a few games to keep an eye on this weekend:

Saturday, August 23: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Colorado Rapids (1 p.m. PT, MLS LIVE)
Saturday, August 23: Whitecaps FC vs. Portland Timbers (7:30 p.m. PT, TSN)
Saturday, August 23: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake (7:30 p.m. PT, MLS LIVE)
Sunday, August 24: Chivas USA vs. LA Galaxy (5 p.m. PT, MLS LIVE)

How do you see the Western Conference playoff race panning out? Let us know in the comment section. 

It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including prorated season tickets, 5-packs, student season tickets, and a youth soccer half-season ticket. Single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.