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Playoff race game guide, Nov. 1

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It’s gonna be scary.

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Real Salt Lake Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake’s match tonight is a big one, but it’s one that doesn’t bring with it a great promise of opportunity.

See, Real Salt Lake has backed themselves into the worst of corners, having won just twice in the last ten games — all told, picking up just eight points of 30 available in that period.

They have only themselves to blame at this point, but they’re not out of playoff contention yet, although it’s definitely close.

With all that said, let’s get into the three relevant playoff matches taking place today, as well as the implications of results around the league.

7 p.m., Colorado Rapids vs. Seattle Sounders

  • Sounders are qualified for the playoffs, and while they will want to win to keep atop the West, there are no major implications aside from seeding for them.
  • Colorado Rapids (1.2667 ppg) could move into the following states.
    LOSE: 1.1875 ppg
    DRAW: 1.25 ppg
    WIN: 1.375 ppg

8 p.m., Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

  • Portland have already qualified for the playoffs, and the implications, like Seattle above, are around seeding.
  • Vancouver Whitecaps (1.1429 ppg) could move into the following states.
    LOSE: 1.09 ppg
    DRAW: 1.136 ppg
    WIN: 1.227 ppg

8:30 p.m., LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake

  • LA Galaxy (0.9474 ppg) would move into the following states.
    LOSE: 0.9 ppg
    DRAW: 0.95 ppg
    WIN: 1.05 ppg
  • RSL (1.1 ppg) would move into the following states.
    LOSE: 1.0476 ppg
    DRAW: 1.0952 ppg
    WIN: 1.1905 ppg

Permutations

I’ll list standings spots 7–11 for each permutation. Also, it will become abundantly clear in some of these why I’ve gone to the fourth decimal place before rounding, because man. It’ll be a tight race.

Colorado loses, Vancouver loses, RSL loses

  • 7: San Jose (1.2857 ppg)
  • 8: Colorado (1.1875 ppg)
  • 9: Vancouver (1.09 ppg)
  • 10: LA Galaxy (1.05 ppg)
  • 11: Real Salt Lake (1.0476 ppg)

Colorado wins, Vancouver loses, RSL loses

  • 7: Colorado (1.375 ppg)
  • 8: San Jose (1.2857 ppg)
  • 9: Vancouver (1.09 ppg)
  • 10: LA Galaxy (1.05 ppg)
  • 11: Real Salt Lake (1.0476 ppg)

Colorado loses, Vancouver wins, RSL loses

  • 7: San Jose (1.2857 ppg)
  • 8: Vancouver (1.227 ppg)
  • 9: Colorado (1.1875 ppg)
  • 10: LA Galaxy (1.05 ppg)
  • 11: Real Salt Lake (1.0476 ppg)

Colorado loses, Vancouver loses, RSL wins

  • 7: San Jose (1.2857 ppg)
  • 8: Real Salt Lake (1.1905 ppg)
  • 9: Colorado (1.1875 ppg)
  • 10: Vancouver (1.09 ppg)
  • 11: LA Galaxy (0.9 ppg)

Colorado wins, Vancouver wins, RSL loses

  • 7: Colorado (1.375 ppg)
  • 8: San Jose (1.2857 ppg)
  • 9: Vancouver (1.227 ppg)
  • 10: LA Galaxy (1.05 ppg)
  • 11: Real Salt Lake (1.0476 ppg)

Colorado loses, Vancouver wins, RSL wins

  • 7: San Jose (1.2857 ppg)
  • 8: Vancouver (1.227 ppg)
  • 9: Real Salt Lake (1.1905 ppg)
  • 10: Colorado (1.1875 ppg)
  • 11: LA Galaxy (0.9 ppg)

Colorado wins, Vancouver wins, RSL wins

  • 7: Colorado (1.375 ppg)
  • 8: San Jose (1.2857 ppg)
  • 9: Vancouver (1.227 ppg)
  • 10: Real Salt Lake (1.1905 ppg)
  • 11: LA Galaxy (0.9 ppg)

There are, of course, other permutations, too. You know — ones where some teams draw and others don’t. I’ve given you the tools to figure those out yourself, if you’re interested. If RSL loses tonight, though, it’s going to be extremely tough to see a path. In fact, I’d say it’s only possible if RSL loses and everyone else in our group loses, too.

But all this becomes a difficult calculus if we lose, because we’re then relying on Colorado continuing to tank, Vancouver and LA Galaxy doing something — drawing, maybe? LA losing? I don’t know. I guess we’ll just have to check back after the match.

If we win, though? Well, we’ve got a surprisingly good chance — as long as we win our next game, too, and as long as other teams do poorly.

It’s gonna be scary. Happy All Saints Day, I guess.