This weekend has a full slate of games to be played, some with little baring on the Timbers' run-in and other of monumental consequence. Although the Timbers can clinch their own playoff spot with a win today, a series of favorable results this weekend could see them clinch the top spot in the Western Conference or put them in position to win it all.
So, who should Timbers fans be rooting for?
Philadelphia Union at Montreal Impact
Saturday, 11:00 am, MLS Live
Root For: Philadelphia
Why? Neither of these teams can pass the Timbers in the standings, but the Union take on Sporting Kansas City who, with their win last night over DC United, have jumped into first place with 55 points. If the Timbers win out then SKC does not present a problem, but why take the chance?
Seattle Sounders at FC Dallas
Saturday, 11:30 am, NBC
Root For: FC Dallas
Why? To paraphrase SteveinPDX, forget Seattle. Also, Seattle is still within striking distance of the Timbers, so a win here for FCD is not just ACES.
Vancouver Whitecaps at Colorado Rapids
Saturday, 3:00 pm, MLS Live
Root For: Vancouver.
Why? The Whitecaps play the Rapids this week. Next week they play them again. With six points to be split between the two teams, Timbers fans should be hoping that at least one of them goes to Vancouver, preventing the Rapids from being able to catch the Timbers on the table.
Columbus Crew at New England Revolution
Saturday, 4:30 pm, MLS Live
Root For: New England
Why? This is another strange case of back to back games between two teams to close out the season. Neither team can pass the Timbers, so we are left to decide if we want to occasionally inspired play of the Crew or the steady defense of the Revolution in the playoffs. In the end, I just have to go with the young players on the Revs who could be all-stars a year or two down the road.
Toronto FC at Chicago Fire
Saturday, 5:30 pm, MLS Live
Root For: Chicago
Why? As much as it pains me to root against both Bright Dike and Joe Bendik, the Fire have a date with New York next week and I would like them to be in fighting shape to take points off of one of the Timbers' chief rivals for the Supporter's Shield.
New York Red Bulls at Houston Dynamo
Sunday, 1:00 pm, UniMas
Root For: Houston
Why? If the Red Bulls win out, they win the Supporter's Shield. No matter what the Timbers do. Period. A loss here for the Red Bulls opens the door for the Timbers to finish on top of the league, a possibility that nobody (NOBODY) even conceived of seven months ago.
San Jose Earthquakes at LA Galaxy
Sunday, 6:00 pm, ESPN
Root For: I just... I just can't.
Why? Rooting for San Jose makes so much more sense here. Not only are the Galaxy still in striking distance of the Timbers, but they are a post-season juggernaut with one of the all-time great American coaches, plus three of the best players in league. Facing them in the playoffs is a bad idea... But I just don't loath them like I do the San Jose Lenharts.
Disagree with the my picks? Let me know in the comments. Plus, if you are going to be watching any of these games, feel free to discuss them here.