The Whitecaps retained the Cascadia Cup last week in Washington. Vancouver's win meant that the Los Angeles Galaxy could take a three point lead over the Seattle Sounders FC with a win in Dallas. And while Stefan Ishizaki's 22nd minute effort proved insufficient to the task, watching the Curva Collective, Rain City Brigade, and Vancouver Southsiders present the Cascadia Cup to Pedro Morales and the Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club still hurt. A lot.
There's nothing quite like watching one of your rivals celebrate silverware on your own pitch. Portland was spared that indignity, this time, but they were no less harmed by Vancouver's efforts.
Timbers owner Merritt Paulson even issued a permission slip to supporters, which allowed them to root for the Sounders. The permission slip was effective October 10th, between the hours of 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM PST, to be exact. But it didn't work.
With the FC Dallas' victory earlier today, there are only two questions that remain for the Whitecaps. Will they finish fifth in the West, and if so, who will they play?
By virtue of their draw with Real Salt Lake on Friday, Portland gave Dallas a big hand in securing the third spot, and avoiding the qualifying round altogether. The Hoops lead Salt Lake by one point, though they have to host the Timbers in their final match, while Salt Lake welcomes CD Chivas for what could be the Goats last ever match.
Vancouver started the day level on points with Portland, but the Timbers held the tiebreaker, which is why tonight's point was so vital. It meant Vancouver head into the final day in control of their own destiny.
On Wednesday, Dallas will learn what they need in order to finish third. If Chivas fail to get a point in Utah, then Dallas will need all three points when they host Portland on Saturday at 5:30 PM. Vancouver's match against Colorado doesn't kick off until 7:00, meaning the Caps may have qualified for the postseason 15-20 minutes into their match with the Rapids.
They have some experience in this regard, having qualified for the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League when Toronto drew with Montreal. We discussed the implications of Champions League qualification here.
As for the match itself, it was a less than stellar performance. 10,525 people came to see the last ever MLS match at Shaw Stadium, including a contingent of no less than 46 who were there to support the visitors.
With the clean sheet, his 12th of the year, David Ousted officially became the season leader in that category. With one match to go for every club but Chivas, DC United’s Bill Hamid has 10, while three others are tied at 8.
It was that kind of game. There were only four shots on target and one offside between the two sides.
On a more positive note, Gershon Koffie was named as a substitute, and came on for the last half hour. Though the rust was certainly there, he did nothing to embarrass the manager or the coaching staff for putting him back in so soon after he was made available.
With a win against Colorado, the Whitecaps can finish with their best ever points total of the MLS era. Next year, they will play in the CONCACAF Champions League for the first time. And as long as they equal or better whatever points Portland gets out of Dallas, they will be in the qualifying round of the Anschutz Cup for the second time in three seasons.
The Whitecaps final match will be at BC Place on Saturday, October 25th, at 7:00 PM. Providing they can match the Timbers result, they'll head to either Salt Lake or Dallas for a one game elimination Anschutz Cup qualifying round match on either October 29th or 30th.
Man of the Match: Steven Beitashour
Referee: Drew Fischer
Shots: San Jose 13 - Vancouver 10
Shots on Goal: San Jose 3 - Vancouver 1
Saves: San Jose 1 - Vancouver 3
Fouls: San Jose 16 - Vancouver 13
Offsides: San Jose 0 Vancouver 1
Corners: San Jose 4 - Vancouver 6
86' - VAN - Mauro Rosales
San Jose Earthquakes
18. Jon Busch; 16. Pablo Pintos (20. Shaun Francis 78'), 5. Victor Bernardez, 21. Jason Hernandez, 3. Jordan Stewart; 4. Sam Cronin; 23. Atiba Harris, 9. Khari Stephenson, 10. Yannick Djalo, 6. Shea Salinas (11. Matias Perez Garcia 71'); 8. Chris Wondolowski
Substitutes not used:
13. Bryan Meredith, 2. Ty Harden, 7. Cordell Cato, 15. J.J. Koval, 22. Tommy Thompson
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1. David Ousted; 33. Steven Beitashour, 40. Andy O'Brien, 16. Johnny Leverón, 2. Jordan Harvey; 15. Matías Laba (28. Gershon Koffie 61'), 31. Russell Teibert; 30. Mauro Rosales, 77. Pedro Morales (7. Sebastián Fernández 71'), 23. Kekuta Manneh; 19. Erik Hurtado (11. Darren Mattocks 64')
Substitutes not used
70. Paolo Tornaghi, 3. Sam Adekugbe, 8. Medhi Ballouchy, 29. Nicolás Mezquida