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The Portland Timbers Could Clinch a Playoff Spot Today

MLS says the Timbers can't clinch a playoff spot with a win today. Math says they can.

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Chivas lost 5-0 to the Galaxy, so never mind. With a win today the Timbers could still clinch on Wednesday with a San Jose loss or tie.

The Portland Timbers currently have 49 points, but a win over the Vancouver Whitecaps would put them at 52 and clinch the Timbers' first postseason berth since joining Major League Soccer.

But does not have them on their list of teams that can clinch.

How can the Timbers book their ticket to the playoffs today?

Well, they can't by themselves, but with a little help from Chivas USA they could be in. The Timbers just need four teams to be incapable of matching their point total to lock up a spot in the Western Conference, and Chivas, FC Dallas, and Vancouver (in this scenario with the Timbers winning today) are already in that position.

The teams closest to being unable to match the Timbers on points are the San Jose Earthquakes and LA Galaxy, only one of which needs to stay below that potentially magical 52 point number.

Here is how they look currently:

The San Jose Earthquakes are at 44 points with three games to play and a maximum of 53 points.

The LA Galaxy are at 45 points with four games to play and a maximum of 57 points.

However, if LA lose to Chivas in today's 2:00 pm match up (which you can watch on UniMas, whatever that is), they will top out at 54 points.

LA plays San Jose next week. If LA wins, the Earthquakes can only get 50 points on the season. In San Jose wins, the Galaxy can only get 51 points on the season. If they tie, the Earthquakes can only get 51 points on the season.

So, a Timbers win today paired with an LA loss puts the Timbers into the playoffs.

Thanks @TheMikeDonovan and @portlanddad for pointing this out on twitter this morning.