Losing to Portland Timbers did Real Salt Lake no present damage in standings, but it effectively wiped out our goal differential. RSL remains 7th in the Western Conference with 36 points and a +1 GD. The danger comes from the 3 teams below us who all sit just 3 points back: Los Angeles FC, San Jose Earthquakes, and Vancouver Whitecaps.
Based on current home and away points per game, we would end up with 47 points; that would put us firmly in 7th place.
So let’s take a look at this week’s games and see what would be the best results for RSL.
Of course, RSL plays LA Galaxy on Saturday, and we really need a win. Statistically it is in our favor; our home PPG is 1.92 vs LAG’s 1.15 away, and they have only ever won 7 times out of 26 games in Utah.
Wednesday, Sept. 29th
- D.C. United vs Minnesota United (6th) - We want DCU to win this one to keep the Loons right where they are!
- FC Dallas (11th) vs Sporting Kansas City (2nd) - A FCD win would be a nice bonus, and given their home PPG vs SKC’s away it is plausible. Even a tie would be a nice result for RSL since it would keep SKC within (distant) reach.
- Colorado Rapids (3rd) vs Austin FC (13th) - The Rapids did us a nice favor by tying the worst team in the league 0-0 last weekend, while they’re still 9 points ahead we can close that gap if they tie again or lose to Austin. Sadly, the Texans have not done well on the road so the gap will probably remain.
- Houston Dynamo (12th) vs Vancouver Whitecaps (10th) - Hopefully the Dynamo can hold them back and help us out, but Vancouver has finally hit their hot streak, and with the Dynamo lagging in the doldrums of the West we can probably count on them picking up points.
- Los Angeles FC (8th) vs Portland Timbers (4th) - Best result for us would be a draw. A Timbers win would keep their distance from us, and a LAFC win would put them either equal in points (if we lose) and possibly ahead on GD, or remaining 3 points behind (if we win).
- San Jose Earthquakes (9th) vs Seattle (1st) - As with the game above hope for a draw. SJE currently has the same GD that we do, so a win for them (and loss for us) moves them ahead. A win for Seattle effectively puts them nearly out of our reach.
With both Minnesota and LAG losing RSL would move into 5th place, and with a Portland loss they would be only 1 point ahead! Worst case we drop to 10th but still on the playoff bubble.
Current projected Western Conference Final Points