With only two games left to play in the 2015 edition of the Cascadia Cup, the Portland Timbers were mathematically eliminated from contention last night with the Vancouver Whitecaps' 3-0 win over the Seattle Sounders.
The win puts the Whitecaps at eight points, the Sounders at six, and the Timbers at five. Unfortunately, despite having a game yet to play, this month's away match against the floundering Sounders, either the Whitecaps or the Sounders will end up with at least nine points when the two teams meet to close out this year's competition in mid-september, putting them out of reach of the Timbers who max out at eight points.
With a record of 1-2-2 in the competition to date, the Timbers still have the potential to finish in second place if they can get a win over the Sounders and the Whitecaps tie or beat the Sounders, giving the Timbers second on straight points; or if the Timbers tie the Sounders and the Whitecaps beat the Sounders, giving the Timbers second on the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Of course, both sides are within reach of the Timbers on the league table. The Timbers are currently tied on points with the Sounders, but have a game in hand after last night's loss for Seattle. The Whitecaps, meanwhile, are at the top of the table in the Western Conference, but are still only seven points above the Timbers with twelve games left to play.
For some historical perspective, the Timbers made up a nine point gap to pass up Real Salt Lake and win the Western Conference in 2013 with only eight games to play (although the had two games in hand, rather than just one).
Today's match against the San Jose Earthquakes will certainly have no bearing on the Cascadia Cup (and I am pretty sure that nobody is trying to make the "Heritage Cup" a thing anymore), but a win here could certainly be the start of the Timbers' climb up the Western Conference ladder.