Vancouver, BC (SportsNetwork.com) - Vancouver Whitecaps FC will be fighting to keep its playoff hopes alive on Saturday when the club welcomes Real Salt Lake to BC Place.
The 'Caps enter the weekend in sixth place in the Western Conference with 37 points, two points off the pace of the Portland Timbers, who occupy the final postseason spot.
Vancouver cannot be eliminated from postseason contention on Saturday, but with the Timbers heading to BMO Field to face struggling Toronto FC, a loss to RSL would certainly put the 'Caps behind the eight ball.
After picking up a 2-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Sept. 10, Vancouver went on a two-game road swing and lost in both contests, falling to FC Dallas, 2-1, before a 3-0 defeat to Portland last time out.
"I'm devastated right now. It's not a fun way to lose," 'Caps goalkeeper David Ousted said of the loss to Portland. "It's not a fun place to lose, especially not with the fan support we had today. There are five games left and we can't feel sorry for ourselves. We can't get down. We need to continue to work. If this ends our season, that's not okay. We need to get back to it. We have Salt Lake at home next week and that's another big game."
Salt Lake is in a much more comfortable position, as far as playoff seeding goes.
The Claret and Cobalt occupy third place in the West with 49 points, needing only a point to clinch a postseason.
The club is looking likely to achieve that feat given its rich vein of form. Salt Lake cruised to victory in its last outing, routing the Colorado Rapids in a 5-1 victory.
But while RSL dominated the Rapids, head coach Jeff Cassar is expecting a tougher test at BC Place.
"Obviously we're going to go to Vancouver and it could be a different story," said Cassar. "They're right there competing for the last playoff spot. It's not like they're several points away where they need three (points). I think they would be fine with a result, but obviously being able to get three points would be huge for them. Going forward every team needs points, every team, even if they are out of the playoffs, they're vying for their jobs next year."