Real Salt Lake will face the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in a game that could help decide home field advantage in the Western Conference semifinals.
RSL, which will close its regular season against the Whitecaps at Rio Tinto stadium Saturday, is currently in a points tie with Seattle Sounders FC. A RSL win and and Seattle draw or loss would bump Seattle to the third seed and give RSL home field advantage in their home and home playoff series against the Sounders. If both RSL and the Sounders draw their final match, the Sounders would win home field advantage on tiebreakers.
Vancouver, who clinched the fifth and final Western Conference playoff spot to become the first Canadian team to appear in the MLS playoffs, is coming off a dismal 10 game stretch posting a 2-6-2 record. However, one of those wins was against RSL.
Vancouver has nothing to gain or lose going into this match and may very well rest many of their key players in preparation for first round games in their playoff series against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Ironically, Seattle will finish the regular season in Los Angeles against the Galaxy, which also may rest their starters in preparation for the playoffs. The Sounders have the added edge of playing the day after RSL and being in control of their playoff destiny.
The winner of the Los Angeles -Vancouver series will face the top seeded San Jose Earthquakes in the other Western Conference Semifinal matchup.
RSL is 2-2-0 against the Whitecaps with both wins coming at home. If both RSL and Seattle win, RSL would have to score at least 5 more goals than the Sounders to overtake them on tie breakers and clinch the second seed.
Ryan Carreon is a web editor for the Deseret News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org