As it stands, the Rapids are comfortably in the playoff spots right now. However, this week the team is off, and it's the first of several weeks like that we're going to see until October. Colorado needs to keep winning if the playoffs are going to be in sight, but a few friendly results from around MLS won't hurt the cause either. So who should we root for this week?
Games with two Eastern Conference foes are not in the mix, for obvious reasons. We're also not going to root for Salt Lake in any scenario, for other obvious reasons. When possible I'm going to pick a winner instead of just saying 'Everyone should draw!', because hoping that every Western team will draw for the rest of time is pretty unrealistic. (This post would be pretty short if I could do that.)
That in mind, here's our rooting guide for this week, from Wednesday to Sunday:
|Match||Who To Root For|
|8/21 - Chivas USA vs. FC Dallas||Chivas. While neither team is currently much of a threat to get into the playoff race considering recent form, Chivas USA is so far out of the playoff picture that there's absolutely no way they're going to scare anyone even if they win three or four in a row. Slumping Dallas continuing to slump helps, too.
|8/21 - Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake||Draw. Portland winning would help out Colorado's chances at sneaking into the top of the table eventually, but it seems unlikely that's going to happen even if they win out for the rest of the year. A draw will muddy the waters even more than a Timbers win would, and muddied waters are just what the Rapids need to stay comfortably in the Top 5. Besides, we need a Timbers win later in the week and it's much better if they get four points out of the week instead of six.
|8/24 - FC Dallas vs. San Jose Earthquakes||Quakes. Though the two teams are level on points right now, that's liable to change when Dallas plays Chivas. Dallas would then be only three points away from the high playoff spots, and a Quakes win will keep them down. If Chivas wins that first game against Dallas (we can hope!) root for a draw instead to keep both teams level near the bottom.|
|8/24 - Vancouver Whitecaps vs. LA Galaxy||Whitecaps. We have to assume that the Rapids will take at least three or four more points from Vancouver before the year's end, and them knocking the suddenly good-looking Galaxy down a peg will keep the bottom of the playoff picture a bit more open. Remember, the Rapids still have games against every team below them in the playoff picture except for Chivas at this point so rooting for most of these teams one week doesn't mean there won't be a chance to regain the positioning. It's doubly so with the Caps.
|8/24 - Real Salt Lake vs. Columbus Crew||Crew, for several obvious reasons.|
|8/25 - Chivas USA vs. New York Red Bulls||Chivas, just because it's funny to watch New York lose and seriously, Chivas aren't going to do anything with a win or two.
|8/25 - Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders||Timbers. Seattle's lower position on the table is a mirage because they've played so few games. If they keep getting results, those games in hand are going to allow them to storm to the top, and that will push out a current Top 5 team, the Rapids being a likely candidate.|
If only a couple of these (or even none of them) happen, it doesn't mean it's time to panic yet. After all, it's still just August and the Rapids certainly aren't going into September on bad form. Getting the best results possible before a potential clusterfjord at the end of October won't hurt, though.