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The Path to the Playoffs: Nine Games to Go, Saturday Edition

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There is a full slate of matches today, including two clashes between the top and bottom of the West.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

With only nine games to go in the season for the Portland Timbers, every game around the league has some bearing on the final standings. Let's look forward to today's matches and how they will affect the Timbers' run in to the playoffs.

Colorado Rapids at Seattle Sounders

Saturday, 8/30 at 1:00 PM PT on MLS Live

Root for: Seattle Sounders

Why? The Rapids have to be kept down. No matter how much you dislike Seattle, and that should be a lot, you have to admit that the Timbers need teams to take points off of the Rapids in the season's final stretch.

New England Revolution at Toronto FC

Saturday, 8/30 at 2:00 PM PT on MLS Live

Root for: Tie

Why? We want the Eastern Conference to take as few total points as possible,. with the idea that if the Timbers make their way to the MLS Cup Final they could somehow host it. To that end, eventually we will want Toronto to lose some games, but not to an opponent like New England who are already hovering right around the red line.

Columbus Crew at Montreal Impact

Saturday, 8/30 at 4:30 PM PT on MLS Live

Root for: Montreal Impact

Why? Montreal is far enough down the Eastern Conference table that we don't mind them taking all three points here, especially if it trips up the Crew.

FC Dallas at Chicago Fire

Saturday, 8/30 at 5:30 PM PT on MLS Live

Root for: FC Dallas

Why? Dallas have two games remaining against the Vancouver Whitecaps and one against the Colorado Rapids, so Timbers fans will really want them winning everything that remains this season. That they still have the chance to keep the Sounders from the Supporters' Shield, particularly after Sporting Kansas City lost to the Houston Dynamo last night, is a nice bonus as well.

Real Salt Lake at San Jose Earthquakes

Saturday, 8/30 at 7:30 PM PT on MLS Live

Root For: Real Salt Lake

Why? This match is the hardest of the day to weigh. Although it is tempting to call for an Earthquakes win to potentially drag RSL back down into the muck of the playoff race rather than their current fringe shot at the Supporters' Shield, the Timbers have to face San Jose next week and will want them on the same not-so-great form that has held them back all season. In the end, practical has to win out over hypothetical.

Disagree with the prognosis? Let us know in the comments. Plus, if you are going to be watching the game, feel free to discuss them here.