Reeling Whitecaps need to go on a run 0
Sep 28, 2013; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Whitecaps defender Nigel Reo-Coker (13) and Real Salt Lake forward Devon Sandoval (49) try to take possession of the ball during the second half at BC Place. The Real Salt Lake won 1-0. Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
It's not despair just yet for the Vancouver Whitecaps. But they'll need luck, they'll need the bounces, and most importantly, they'll need to win at least three of their final four regular season games if they want a shot at making the playoffs.
After a poor performance at home last Saturday that ended in a 1-0 loss to a Real Salt Lake team missing plenty of their top players, the 'Caps are reeling. In a season where they had looked to improve on their first-ever post-season appearance from a year ago, they instead find themselves on the outside looking in.
Vancouver is four points back of the fifth-place Colorado Rapids — the holder of that final playoff spot — and both teams have four games to go.
The 'Caps next face the Portland Timbers — at home on Sunday — followed by the Seattle Sounders before closing out their schedule with two more against the aforementioned Rapids. With all three opponents currently in a playoff position and certainly not easy sides to beat, potential elimination looms for Vancouver.
Heading into Sunday's tilt, both the threat of missing the post-season and the possibility of still being able to make it plays equally into their minds.
"It's a combination of both," captain Jay DeMerit said. "The fact that we could be out of the playoff race should drive us to succeed and the fact that we can still have a chance to make the playoffs should drive us as well. Both of those are factors, and they play off each other to make sure guys are staying concentrated on the task."
The team could potentially have one of their top strikers back. Kenny Miller missed the last game with an adductor injury and was working on the sidelines at practice Wednesday. He hopes to train fully by Friday and possibly be in the lineup for the all-important match against Portland.
"It's feeling pretty good," Miller said. "I'm definitely hopeful and giving everything I've got to be back. It's one we need to win … so I want to get back and hopefully get on the scoresheet."