Commerce City, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - The Colorado Rapids and Vancouver Whitecaps will close the regular season with a home-and-home series that will determine the fate of both clubs.
The first match takes place at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Saturday and is a must-win for the Whitecaps, while Colorado can clinch a playoff berth with a win and Los Angeles victory over San Jose on Sunday.
Colorado could have made life easier for itself with a win over San Jose last time out, but the Rapids dropped an ugly 1-0 decision that leaves the club in the fifth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, one point clear of the Earthquakes.
The result followed a sparkling 5-1 home win against Seattle, and although it was a disappointing game for the Rapids, captain Drew Moor put a positive spin on things entering the final two matches.
"It becomes a little stressful if you think about it too much," Moor said of the chase for a postseason spot. "We control our own destiny. We've put ourselves in this situation in which we can control our own destiny at this point. This is the time where you don't just want to scrape into the playoffs. You want to be playing well right now."
With two losses from its last three games Colorado would love to turn things around against the Whitecaps and take a bit of momentum into the postseason, but first the team has to get there.
A win over Vancouver on Saturday would be a big step in the right direction, and the Rapids will feel confident with the game at DSG Park, where the club is unbeaten in its last eight matches.
Vancouver will be buoyed by the fact that the club captured this season's Cascadia Cup, while a 4-1 win over Seattle last time out showed that there is still fight left in Martin Rennie's side.
A hat trick from 18-year-old Kekuta Manneh in the win over the Sounders made Manneh the youngest player in MLS history to score three goals in a game.
"He's shown what he can do tonight," Rennie said of Manneh. "Obviously with young players you're not always going to get that consistent level of performance, but we did actually talk about it before - if he showed up, then he could have a huge impact on the game, and he did."
With veteran forward Kenny Miller still battling injury problems Manneh's emergence could be just what Vancouver needs to help out leading scorer Camilo.
The Whitecaps have earned seven points from their last four games, but they may need six more over the next two if they want to return to the postseason.