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Vancouver fires Carl Robinson, and there are playoff implications for RSL

It’s a big move with not long left in the season.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

With just five matches remaining in their regular season, Vancouver Whitecaps have fired Carl Robinson, who has coached the team since 2013.

Which, well, OK — that’s kind of weird, but Vancouver can do what they want, right?

The playoff implications, though, are particularly interesting to us, so let’s talk about them.

Two things are the classic possibilities when a coach is fired: Either there is a bump in performance or a dip in performance. For Real Salt Lake upon the firing of Jeff Cassar, it was a dip. Most of what I’ve read surrounds the opposite.

If it is a bump for the ‘Caps, it may be troublesome for Real Salt Lake. A win in their next game would put them within just two points of our total on equal games played, putting the onus on RSL to succeed. Interestingly, the firing comes ahead of the team’s match against LA Galaxy, and with the two neck-and-neck below the red line, we can’t really afford to have either team swinging into a strong position right now.

The playoff race is tight, and it sure looks like it’s going to be getting tighter. Vancouver plays Portland, LAFC, LA Galaxy, Sporting KC and Toronto FC in their last five, thou gh not in that order.

We’ll have more on the playoff picture later in the week, but do remember: If RSL doesn’t pull out some victories, they will find things very difficult.