Heading into this weekend, the Vancouver Whitecaps barely had a prayer left in the MLS playoff picture.
With two matches remaining, they needed to win out, and get help — and lots of it — from the out-of-town scoreboard.
What a difference a few days can make, because against all odds, suddenly the Whitecaps control their own destiny.
The weekend couldn’t have gone any better for the Whitecaps, who not only took care of business at BC Place by beating Austin FC 2-0, they got all the help they could ask for.
Two teams they’re chasing for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference, Portland and Minnesota, both lost. Real Salt Lake earned just a single point in a draw to remain within striking distance, while Seattle was eliminated from postseason contention with a loss.
Decision Day couldn’t set up better for MLS fans, as Portland faces Salt Lake, and Vancouver takes on Minnesota. Both games begin at 2 pm PT on Sunday, with the Whitecaps match available to watch on TSN.
The mission for the Whitecaps now is simple. Win and they’re in. Lose or draw, and their season is over.
The Whitecaps are rolling, having won three straight high-pressure home matches. But winning on the road has proven to be much more difficult for the Whitecaps, who have two wins, 10 losses, and four draws away from BC Place. Conversely, the Whitecaps are an impressive 10-4-3 at home.
Vancouver’s next opponent, Minnesota United, is 7-4-5 at home, but they’re currently in a freefall down the Western Conference standings. Minnesota hasn’t won since August 27, and are 0-5-1 in their last six matches.
Should the Whitecaps squeak into the playoffs, they would play either Austin or Dallas in the first round, in a single-game elimination road match.
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