We've been blabbering on about 'must win' this and 'must win' that since about mid-August. What we've not talked about as much is the fact that this is MLS, and it's really hard to get knocked completely out of the playoffs even as late as September.
That's right, despite the fact that in the W-L-D column it's the worst season in Rapids history, they are still somehow in the playoff race. Not even in that 'well it's pretty much impossible and 42 teams would have to lose every single game for the rest of the season for them to make it in' way, either!
Welcome to MLS, I guess.
Since they were able to take down the Portland Timbers, the Rapids are currently 7th in the Western Conference, having jumped over both the Timbers and Chivas USA with that big three point performance. Currently, Colorado has 29 points. Look at the competition three spots ahead of them:
Those are the only teams the Rapids have any prayer of catching. They've blown their chance to get extra points from Dallas with those two unfortunate losses, but they play both the Whitecaps and Galaxy at least once more each. Two wins against the Galaxy somehow would slice the deficit down from 14 points to a more manageable eight, while also gaining extra ground on the Caps for that fifth playoff spot. Essentially, winning four or five of their remaining six games (and the Houston game probably won't matter as much) could get the team into the big show.
Now, does this mean I expect the team to make the playoffs under any circumstances? Hell to the no!
I don't think the team has it in them to win the four or five out of their last six games that they would need to win. Oscar Pareja is slowly getting better with his tactical decisions, but he isn't quite to the point where we can expect decent coaching out of him every game. The team still has a few injuries biting them. They still all need to be sent to finishing school so they can score with more frequency. There's a list that could go on and on about the little reasons that they won't be making it in.
Still, it's always fun to project the fact that the playoffs aren't a dead and buried dream this late into the season. You've gotta love this league.