Win and they're in.
It's as simple as that if Real Salt Lake can beat the Portland Timbers on Sunday afternoon at Povidence Park (3 p.m. on KMYU and KSL app). Three points would be enough to get RSL into the playoffs. Anything less — well, it could get complicated.
RSL sits in sixth place in the Western Conference with 49 points, good enough for the final playoff spot. Two teams can still catch Real: Los Angeles Galaxy (45 points) and Vancouver Whitecaps (43).
Vancouver has the slimmest odds. The Whitecaps must win their final two matches (vs. Galaxy, at Columbus) and have RSL lose on Sunday and have the Galaxy also lose or tie their final game of the season (vs. Houston) and win the tiebreaker.
If RSL loses or draws with Portland — a team that smashed RSL 4-1 at home on Oct. 7 — the Galaxy control their own destiny, but need a full six points to move into sixth place and four points to tie.
The first three MLS tiebreakers are: 1. Number of wins; 2. Goal differential; 3. Goals scored.
The worst thing about losing Sunday's game is that RSL would have to sweat out the final week of the season watching others play because Real has a bye.
RSL will play the Timbers on just two days rest, but the team will have a lot of fresh players available who usually start. Kyle Beckerman and Sunday Stephen missed RSL's 4-1 win over New England due to suspension, and Joao Plata, Albert Rusnak and Jefferson Savarino were resting from international duty.Comment on this story
MONARCHS BOUNCED FROM USL PLAYOFFS: Despite being one of the top regular season teams in the USL over the past two seasons, Real Monarchs SLC continue to struggle in the playoffs. The second-tier club fell to Reno 1868 FC 1-0 in front of a crowd of more than 3,000 at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman on Saturday afternoon.
Reno's Brian Brown scored in stoppage time to bounce the Monarchs from the USL round of 16 in heartbreaking fashion.
BECKERMAN NAMED HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR: RSL captain Kyle Beckerman was named Jordan Guernsey Humanitarian of the Year for his work with in the community earlier this week. He worked to improve students' reading at Ensign Elementary School, he helped promote the Make-A-Wish Foundation and new futsal courts in Salt Lake City, and he also met with juvenile offenders.