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Minnesota United and Vancouver Whitecaps are still in contention to make it to the playoffs this season, but it has all come down to the final game. The qualification scenario is different for both teams as the home side are 2 points and 2 places ahead in the league table.
Minnesota United defeated Vancouver Whitecaps earlier this season after making a late comeback in the game. The match at BC Place saw the first half end goalless but then burst into life with four goals in the second half.
Lucas Cavallini scored the opening goal in the 66th minute to hand Vancouver the lead. They could not keep hold of it for long as Kemar Lawrence equalized just five minutes later.
Luis Amarilla managed to make it 2-1 to the away side in the 84th minute. Just as Vancouver were chasing the equalizer, Franco Fragapane made it 3-1 to Minnesota United and sealed the win for them.
A repeat of that is very likely this week, as Vancouver Whitecaps will be going all out for the win and cannot afford any other result.
Minnesota United made a good start to the season but had a bad slip in form during the middle of the season. They made quick changes and then went on a good run and put themselves in a strong position to make it to the playoffs.
Adrian Heath did well to turn things around at the club, but they now find themselves in a tough spot once again. They need to win on the final day of the season to seal the place on their own, or depend on Portland Timbers to help them qualify.
Minnesota United had a great season so far and were on course to make it to the playoffs with ease. Their sudden dip in form was totally unexpected and a team that should have sealed the place in the knockout stages with games in hand, finds itself struggling to cross the line.
Minnesota have lost five of their last six matches in the league. The winless run has come at the worst possible time for them as teams around them have gained places and eased past them.
They have lost to Portland Timbers, who went past them in the league and also to Sporting Kansas City, San Jose Earthquakes, and Real Salt Lake, who are still below them in the table.
Minnesota United are currently in the final spot of the Western Conference playoff zone in the table. They have collected 45 points from their 33 matches and can seal the place with a win on Sunday.
A win would see them jump to 48 points – a tally Real Salt Lake cannot match.
However, if they are to drop points against Vancouver Whitecaps and finish with 46 points, they would need the other result to go their way. Minnesota United can only go through to the playoffs if Portland Timbers beat or at least get a draw from their game against Real Salt Lake.
If they are to lose to the Whitecaps, they have no chance of making it through, regardless of what happens in other matches. The Canadian side would have stolen the final spot from them on the final day.
Vancouver Whitecaps started the season in poor fashion and had won just once in their first eight matches. However, they have managed to pull up their socks and fight for a chance to make it to the playoffs at the right time.
They are the in-form side in the Western Conference, who still have a chance of making it to the playoffs right now. However, everything is not in their hands as they left things too late.
Vancouver Whitecaps were on a three-match losing streak, and their chances of making it to the playoffs looked slim. However, they have done well in the last three matches and collected all 9 points to take the fight until the very end.
The winning run started with a 3-0 win over LA Galaxy, who were doing well in the league. The win gave the Whitecaps a boost in confidence and they carried the momentum into the next match.
They defeated Seattle Sounders in the next match and the win helped them move ahead of their opponents in the league table.
Vancouver Whitecaps had their toughest test of the tail-end of the season when they hosted Austin FC last week. The Texas side were not at their best but still managed to collect 55 points this season.
Ryan Gauld scored the opening goal of the match for Vancouver in the 7th minute and that helped them get a grip and defend deep. They sat back well and attacked on the counter to get the second goal right after the hour mark and seal a 2-0 win.
Vancouver Whitecaps have the odds against them right now despite making a late push for the playoffs. With 9 points from the last three matches, they have put themselves in a good position, but just a win on the final day might not be enough for them to go through.
If the Whitecaps win, they would move above Minnesota United and occupy the final playoff spot for the time being. However, they would need to wait for the result of Portland Timbers vs Real Salt Lake before they celebrate.
If Salt Lake win their match, they will have moved to 47 points and pushed the Timbers to the final playoff spot, eventually eliminating the Vancouver Whitecaps.
However, there is one highly unlikely scenario which could see the Vancouver Whitecaps making it to the playoffs even if they and Salt Lake win. For that to happen, they would need to thrash Minnesota United by at least 10 goals.
That alone would still not be enough for them to qualify as they would need a big favor from Real Salt Lake. Portland timbers currently have a +2 goal difference, while it is -15 for Vancouver Whitecaps.
So to overcome that, the Canadian side would need the Timbers to lose by 8 goals or more to make it to the top 7 in the Western Conference.
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|Minnesota United vs Vancouver Whitecaps
|Sunday, October 9 at 5 pm ET
|How to watch
|TSN1, TSN4, MLS LIVE on ESPN+, Bally Sports North, The CW – Twin Cities
Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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