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Real Salt Lake Can Still Mathematically Qualify For Upcoming MLS Playoffs

Jackson Yueill #14 of San Jose Earthquakes tries to get the ball from Albert Rusnak #11 of Real Salt Lake at Earthquakes Stadium on October 28, 2020 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Mathematically speaking, Real Salt Lake still has a chance at scrapping into the upcoming 2020 MLS Playoffs despite suffering yet another heartbreaking loss against San Jose midweek.

MLS Changes Playoff Qualification Method

Major League Soccer announced that points per game, not overall points, will determine what teams qualify for the playoffs. This change comes following a recent postponement of Colorado Rapids games due to a spike in COVID-19 cases within their camp.

By the time the regular season concludes, the Rapids would have played 18 games compared to RSL’s 24.

As it stands now, the Rapids amass 1.27 points per game and hold the final playoff spot with three games remaining on their schedule. The Vancouver Whitecaps are a spot below them with 1.14 points per game and two games remaining on their regular-season campaign. Then sits RSL on 1.1 points per game with two games remaining.

Essentially, RSL is relying on both the Rapids and Whitecaps to lose games. Ideally, the Rapids and Whitecaps would lose all of their remaining games and RSL wins both their games in which RSL would qualify.

However, that scenario seems unlikely. Although, the Rapids remaining fixtures include a home matchup against Seattle and road games against Portland and Houston. All three remaining games for the Rapids are difficult as Seattle sits atop the West, Portland is in the third seed and Houston, despite being in 10th place in the West, has a strong home record to date.

The Whitecaps, on the other hand, goes on the road to Portland and then hosts the lonely LA Galaxy to round out their campaign.

What Needs To Unfold

The likely scenario is this –

The Rapids lose to both Seattle and Portland but pick up a point on the road against Houston.

The Whitecaps will likely lose to Portland but beat the Galaxy.

RSL should beat the Galaxy on the road and will also hopefully utilize home field advantage and pick up three points against Sporting Kansas City, who sit in the second seed in the West.

If those scenarios play out, the Rapids conclude with 1 point per game, Whitecaps with 1.17 points per game and RSL would finish with 1.27 points per game.

RSL would finish securing the eighth seed and advancing to the MLS playoffs.

Unfortunately, MLS is very unpredictable and the chances that those scenarios play out are extremely slim. RSL does not control their own destiny and will be relying on other results to fall their way over the coming weeks.

But there is still a mathematical possibility that RSL qualifies for the playoffs and that is all that matters.

Galaxy Broadcast Info

Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 1 from Dignity Health Sports Park.

You can stream the game for free on KSLSports.com or on the KSL 5 TV app.