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With seven to go, breaking down RSL's run to the end of the season

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Jim Urquhart-USA TODAY Sports

Seven games remain for Real Salt Lake as the MLS regular season moves toward an exciting conclusion, and with the stakes being unbearably high - we have both a chance to win it all if things go particularly in our favor, or to miss the playoffs if things go particularly badly - the run-in is bound to be panic-inducing. Let's break down what we have ahead of us.

Friday, Sept. 12: Away to Seattle Sounders

Of the coming matches, this is the one that has substantial implications as we make a late run at the Supporters Shield. Seattle Sounders have been in good form and lead the pack in the race for said Shield.

Friday, Sept. 19: Colorado Rapids at home

Colorado Rapids last won (or picked up any points) on July 25. Since then, they've played seven games. Zero points. In spite of their miserable run in form, they're still in the playoff hunt, and a win or two could put them back in a favorable position. This one will be more difficult than their record would suggest.

Saturday, Sept. 27: Away to Vancouver Whitecaps

Another week, another team with an opportunity to look for a playoff spot. The two intervening games between this and the one preceding will speak volumes about how this one proceeds, but I'd be surprised if they're not still in the hunt.

Sunday, Oct. 5: Away to Chivas USA

Ah, here we go. Chivas USA, despite massive improvements this year, still sit in the basement of the Western Conference. Dispatching them comes with its own set of risks, but it stands to reason that this will not be the most difficult game in the run-in.

Saturday, Oct. 11: San Jose Earthquakes at home

As of right now, San Jose has two games in hand but sit outside the playoff mark. With this as the third-to-last game of the season, it could be either scintillating or a dead rubber for San Jose.

Friday, Oct. 17: Away to Portland Timbers

As it stands, Portland Timbers are in the playoffs. With two matches to go when we get here, there's really no telling where they could end up.

Wednesday, Oct. 22: Home to Chivas USA

It's easy to see this one as a dead-rubber. We'll see when we get there, but if they're in the playoff hunt, I'll eat my hat. And your hat. I'll eat everyone's hats.