Breaking down the Vancouver Whitecaps' Resolution Day math

It is not so simple as ‘win-and-you’re-in’ for the Vancouver Whitecaps this 12 months. It is win and get some assist to complete within the prime 4 within the West.

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“There’s nowhere to go however up” is a bland platitude normally reserved for the morbidly optimistic rose-coloured glasses crowd, those that drink deeply out of their half-full glass of sanguine sangria.

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However this week, the Vancouver Whitecaps can lean deeply and with out reservation into the aphorism, as their Resolution Day in MLS is all about climbing the desk.

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The Whitecaps head into the ultimate day of the common season, with seven simultaneous Western Convention kickoffs, figuring out they will’t fall under their present sixth-place standing. However there may very well be a possible prize after their recreation with Los Angeles FC — a top-four spot, and residential discipline benefit within the first-round better of three playoff sequence.

Vanni Sartini’s earlier two Resolution Days had been filled with drama, delight and disappointment.

In 2021, Vancouver roared into the ultimate day of the common season using a five-game unbeaten streak — a part of a miraculous second-half turnaround sparked by Sartini taking on and Ryan Gauld’s arrival — and wanted a point-blank save from Max Crepeau on Fredy Montero late within the recreation to protect a 1-1 tie. If he doesn’t make that save, the Caps don’t make the playoffs due to one other outcome 3,000 kilometres away in Salt Lake Metropolis.

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Los Angeles FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

Saturday, 6 p.m., B.C. Place.

TV: Apple TV. Radio: AM730

Final season, Vancouver’s playoff possibilities had been lifeless and buried halfway by September, having misplaced three straight video games. However the Caps gained three straight residence video games to arrange a ‘win-and you’re-in’ showdown with Minnesota United. They misplaced the highway recreation 2-0 to fall simply in need of the post-season.

“Yeah, this Resolution Day is a lot simpler,” Sartini stated. “The primary one … was most likely probably the greatest reminiscence as Whitecaps coach. It was the primary time that the stadium was absolutely open once more after COVID, so there was lots of people and we performed very properly. Very thrilling on the finish, they nearly rating and with out the outcome … we’d have been out. It was unbelievable.

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“Final 12 months, we knew that we had a really troublesome activity to win away. It was very bitter on the finish, however I used to be happy with the hassle of the crew as a result of we had been behind, we gained three video games in a row to be at that place.

“Between me and also you, I choose far more the environment this Resolution Day, as a result of in any case, we all know that we’re going to play a playoff recreation. And on prime of that, we’re going to play a playoff recreation at residence, assured. So it’s going to be, I feel, that’s gonna be the factor that I’m trying ahead to most.”

And, ought to their first-round sequence go three full video games, it may very well be two residence video games. For that to occur, the very first thing that should occur is to beat LAFC. The second is for 2 out of the next three outcomes on Resolution Day to occur: a Houston Dynamo loss or attract Portland; an RSL loss or attract Colorado Rapids or a Seattle Sounders’ loss in St. Louis.

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Right here’s a have a look at how that highway may play out …


Oddsmakers (Draftkings) — Whitecaps win: +130/43.5%; Draw: +265, 27.4%; LAFC win +170, 37%

The Black and Gold have been a regular of excellence since coming into the league 5 years in the past. They regarded each bit the half in a 3-0 win over the Whitecaps at B.C. Place in Champions League play in March.

However the Caps’ success this season had a pivotal second — their 3-2 highway win over LAFC, a recreation that Ranko Veselinovic gave them the lead 116 seconds in, and Gauld performed left wingback. It additionally rotated their fortunes away from B.C. Place, the primary of 4 highway wins and three ties of their remaining out-of-town video games, after going greater than a calendar 12 months between highway victories.

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And LAFC, regardless of their success, haven’t had the perfect of luck in Vancouver. They’ve misplaced three straight regular-season video games at B.C. Place and, should you embrace the 2-1 victory in 2020 when the Caps had been exiled in Portland, it’s 4 straight losses away to Vancouver.

There’s additionally the query of motivation for LAFC. They will’t drop out of the highest 4, nor catch St. Louis for first place within the West. And with Denis Bouanga having a wholesome four-goal lead within the Golden Boot race, seeing him and the opposite key L.A. gamers passing on enjoying on the MCL-eating B.C. Place turf is an actual risk.


Houston Dynamo at Portland Timbers

Odds: Portland win: +110/47.6%; draw: +255/28.2%; Houston win: +205/32.8%

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The Dynamo have been on hearth currently, with solely two losses for the reason that begin of July. They’ve misplaced simply as soon as of their final 11 video games (5-2-4), with 5 shutouts and outscoring opponents 22-6 over that span.

However the Timbers are on a mission — they should win to make sure a playoff spot, holding seventh place above FC Dallas and San Jose by advantage of the wins’ tiebreaker. Going of their favour: Houston has only one win in 9 video games in opposition to the Timbers (though that got here this 12 months) and the Dynamo’s 2-9-5 away document this season is simply higher than last-place Colorado within the West.

Portland was on a seven-game heater (5-0-2) earlier than stumbling in opposition to CF Montreal final week, shedding 4-1.


Actual Salt Lake at Colorado Rapids

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Odds — Colorado win: +160/38.5%; draw: +255/28.2%, RSL win: +140/41.7%

RSL has stumbled currently, going winless of their final two video games, each in opposition to non-playoff groups. In addition they solely have one win of their final 5 away video games.

The caveat is that this: these final two losses had been nearly wins, as they battled again from multi-goal deficits in each. Towards Sporting Kansas Metropolis, they noticed Justen Glad red-carded after three minutes and trailed 3-0 till the ultimate 9 minutes of regulation, after they scored twice to just about pull off the comeback. RSL fell behind 2-0 in opposition to L.A. on the highway, earlier than battling again for the draw.

And this crew is aware of one thing about clutch Resolution Day moments: Damir Kreilach’s Ninety fifth-minute winner in opposition to SKC in 2021 put them into the post-season and would have knocked the Whitecaps out, had it not been for Crepeau’s save in opposition to the Sounders.

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Seattle Sounders at St. Louis CITY SC. 

Odds — StL win: +130/43.5%; draw: +240/29.4%; Sounders win: +175/36.4%

St. Louis has nothing to play for in concept, having clinched each the West title and residential discipline benefit however they’ve gone on the document saying that setting a document for growth crew wins was a precedence. So it will likely be full-on St. Louligan insanity from the hosts on Saturday. No West crew has extra residence wins than St. Louis (11-3-2), whereas Seattle is simply a recreation over .500 on the highway.

The Sounders can end between second and sixth, however a spot within the prime 4 could be secured with a tie, they usually may leapfrog LAFC ought to they lose to Vancouver and Seattle wins.

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