MLS Preview: Whitecaps, Timbers chase final play-off spot

22 October 2014 18:28

David Ousted has urged the Vancouver Whitecaps to settle for nothing less than victory in their bid to secure the final MLS play-off spot.

The Whitecaps occupy the fifth and final play-off spot available in the Western Conference ahead of the final round of regular-season matches, but lead the sixth-placed Portland Timbers by a solitary point.

Victory in Saturday’s clash with the Colorado Rapids at the BC Place Stadium will be enough to guarantee their place in the play-offs.

A draw or a loss will open the door for Portland to sneak in as they travel to FC Dallas.

Ahead of a crucial weekend, Whitecaps goalkeeper Ousted issued a rallying cry to his team-mates.

“We need to win,” he told reporters. “We need to win for ourselves, we need to win for our fans at home and make that a happy occasion and show them that we can go home and get a result.”

The Timbers are hoping to extend their season after they were knocked out of the CONCACAF Champions League by CD Olimpia on Tuesday despite holding a 4-2 advantage heading into the second leg in Honduras.

A 3-1 loss curtailed their hopes, but coach Caleb Porter is hoping his decision to rest several key stars will prove decisive on Saturday.

“We rested seven players but we still felt we could get the result, at the end of the day we fell short and now we have to focus our energy on Saturday,” he said.

“Fortunately, we have seven key players, guys that have been regular starting players that are fresh.”

Elsewhere, Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles Galaxy will meet for the second time in the space of eight days.

The match at CenturyLink Field will decide the destination of the Supporters’ Shield, awarded to the team that finishes with the best regular-season record.

Sounders coach Sigi Schmid questioned the logic of scheduling which will see the two sides meet in the final two rounds of the season ahead of last weekend’s 2-2 draw, but he will have been impressed by the way his side fought back from two goals down at the Stubhub Centre.

Also on Saturday, Montreal Impact and New England Revolution have home matches with DC United and Toronto FC, while Houston Dynamo visit Chicago Fire on Friday.

Sunday sees ramifications for play-off seedings, with teams aiming to clinch third place and avoid a knockout-round clash.

In the East, Sporting Kansas City occupy third but could be leapfrogged by their opponents New York Red Bulls, while Colombus Crew can too take the place as they tackle Philadelphia Union.

In the West, Dallas are in pole position to finish third and they could already have the position tied up should Real Salt Lake lose to Chivas USA ahead of the weekend’s action.

Chivas will then finish their regular season at home to Californian rivals the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday.