While RSL isn't in action this weekend, there is plenty that RSL should be paying attention to starting Friday night. The first match of the weekend is Houston at Sporting KC, while neither of these teams will impact RSL's position in the playoffs we do however need to keep an eye on the Eastern Conference as this year the site of MLS Cup will be based on the team in the final with the best record. So that means for RSL to play host on 12-1-12 we need to have more points than the team from the Eastern Conference, currently SKC has 50 points and Houston have 45, so a draw is the best result for RSL.
While it may go against everything RSL fans hold close to their hearts, in the second match on Friday, we should be cheering for the Colorado Rapids on Friday night as they take on LA Galaxy. The Rapids would need 17 points from their remaining 6 matches in order to catch RSL (if we didn't get another point for the rest of the season) and we all know that isn't going to happen. The Galaxy however are just 3 points behind RSL for 3rd place in the Western Conference, so we need them to get as few points as possible. Remember that the teams in 4th and 5th place have to play a wildcard "play in" match. We want to avoid that play in match, so we need to finish in the top 3 spots.
More thoughts on the weekend after the jump:
On Saturday there are several more matches that RSL fans should not only pay attention to but should be actively cheering for one side over the other, first up the Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders. This one is really simple as we all should be honorary members of the Timber's Army for the day, as the Timbers sit with 27 points and would need to capture 19 of their remaining 21 possible points to catch RSL in the standings and currently are 10 points out of the final playoff spot in the West, a win for them does nothing to hurt RSL or our playoff chances. Seattle on the other hand took over 2nd place in the Western Conference with a 2-1 win over Chivas USA last weekend and now lead RSL by a single point. A loss by them on Saturday would allow RSL a chance to either keep pace or take back 2nd place based on what happens in next weekend's matches.
Like cheering for the Rapids on Friday night might just seem a bit odd for RSL fans on Saturday cheering for Chivas USA might just be a bit tough to swallow, but with them taking on the San Jose Earthquakes, we need the "other" LA team to get a win over San Jose. The Quakes have a 7 point lead over RSL in the Western Conference and a 3 point lead over Sporting KC in the overall MLS table, if they are going to slow down at all this year, we need that to happen now.
Those are the major matches that impact RSL, but a few more on Saturday have a role to play as well:
The Vancouver Whitecaps are just 9 points behind RSL and they will be in Frisco on Saturday to take on FC Dallas who sit just 4 points behind the Caps for the final playoff spot. I don't see either of these teams being a real danger for RSL but to play it safe, I say we all cheer for a 0-0 draw in this one.
The New York Red Bulls currently have 46 points (the same as RSL) and they will be playing host to the Columbus Crew who have quietly worked themselves into a playoff spot with 42 points but things in the East are much tighter than in the West. In the East the top team and 7th place team is just 11 points, in the West that gap is 24 points. I thought about this one and I am going to have to say the best result for RSL would be a Crew win, which would keep the Red Bulls from getting a point to go ahead of us in the overall standings.
The final match of the weekend that could potentially have some impact on RSL is another of the Eastern Conference matches when the Montreal Impact will head to Chicago to take on the Fire, and while they haven't made a lot of headlines the Fire have snuck up on everyone and sit with 47 points. Yes, the Fire have one point more than RSL at this point and that means we all should be cheering on the Impact in this match.
So while our beloved RSL might not be in action this weekend, there is plenty for RSL fans to pay attention to and a lot of cheering that could help our boys out.
OFF MY SOAPBOX