The Daily Wave: Playoffs, So To Speak, Start Early For The Rapids

Oscar Pareja deserves a handshake for the team's performance this year. - Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Spor

The Rapids are on their way to the playoffs (sorry San Jose). But this weekend's slate of games still takes on playoff-like importance for several teams, Rapids included.

Plenty of Colorado Rapids fans were in the weird position of rooting for the LA Galaxy to beat or at least tie the San Jose Earthquakes last weekend. Either result would have sent Colorado the playoffs. LA tied San Jose, which all but guarantees Colorado's passage to the playoffs.

But Colorado needs another favor from LA. The Galaxy will travel to the Seattle Sounders for the season finale. Optimally, LA pulls another draw against the floundering Sounders. That result, coupled with a Rapids victory against the Vancouver Whitecaps, could move Colorado as high as second in the Western Conference (the far-fetched dream for first place was extinguished when Real Salt Lake beat Chivas USA Wednesday night). But the Portland Timbers will probably beat, or at least tie, Chivas USA this coming weekend, putting second-place out of reach for the Rapids.

A fairly likely scenario has Colorado and Seattle playing each other for the play-in game between the fourth and fifth seeded teams in the conference. That makes a victory over the Whitecaps is imperative for the Rapids.

Seattle has famously been self-immolating during the late stretch of the season, including that 5-1 beatdown at the hands of the Rapids. It's obvious to say that the Rapids would want an encounter against Seattle to take place in Commerce City, and a closer look at the standings reinforces the point.

Seattle, as they usually are, have been solid at home with a plus-14 goal differential at games played in the Emerald City. On the road it's quite a different story where they're minus-14 for the goal differential, worst among any team in position to make the playoffs.

The earlier drubbing of Seattle was one of the finest moments for Colorado during this surprising season run. A playoff win would eclipse that, but it would probably have to take place at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

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