VANCOUVER, BC – Six points.
That’s what separates Vancouver Whitecaps FC from Houston Dynamo, who they host on Saturday night at BC Place (7 p.m. PT on TSN1 – tickets still available). The ‘Caps are currently seventh in the Western Conference, just below the red line, while the Dynamo are tied for first.
And the ‘Caps have two games in hand.
That tells you everything you need to know about the importance of Saturday’s match. It also tells you everything you need to know about the wacky Western Conference.
Or whatever you want to call it.
I feel like every year around this time I look at the Western Conference standings and think: “This can’t get any weirder.” Then it gets weirder. And I love it.
At any rate, this is a big opportunity for the ‘Caps to make some ground.
As you can see below, six of their next seven matches are at home, starting with a pair of matches against teams above them – and within striking distance – in the Western Conference.
It’s always difficult to predict how many points it will take to qualify for the playoffs, especially with this many games remaining. But if we use last year as a frame of reference, which saw Real Salt Lake claim the final playoff spot in the West with 46 points, then Whitecaps FC would need 15 points from their final 12 matches to get back into the postseason.
That’s five wins (yes, I can do math).
In other words, if the ‘Caps can take care of business at home, they’ll likely be sitting pretty come the end of October.
Let the fun begin.