Earthquakes look to shake up the MLS playoffs



By Edward Soper, SPORTS EDITOR

The San Jose Earthquakes have had an intense season with more than their fair share of ups and downs. The arrival and emergence of players such as Magnus Erikkson, Christian Espinoza, Carlos Fierro, and Daniel Vega, as well as new manager Matías Almeyda have completely turned the team around, taking them from the last place a season ago to a potential playoff team.
Lately, however, the team has had to endure everything from injuries to red cards, as the team has struggled down the stretch and finds itself in jeopardy of heading into an early offseason.
San Jose currently sits just one point behind FC Dallas for the final playoff spot in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference. Going into the final match of the season, the Quakes have a chance to get back into the playoffs after finishing with the worst record in the league a season ago.
The winner of Sunday’s match between the San Jose Earthquakes and the Portland Timbers will clinch a berth in the MLS playoffs. The match will take place on Oct. 6 at 1:00 pm at Providence Park in Portland, OR.
In the event that San Jose falls to the Timbers, they will not be able to qualify for postseason play. However, if the Earthquakes end up with a tie in Portland, they can still make the playoffs, but they’ll need the following scenario to play out.
If the Earthquakes tie with Portland, they will also need FC Dallas to lose their match against Sporting Kansas City, and will also need the Colorado Rapids match against Los Angeles FC to end with an LAFC victory, a tie, or a Colorado Rapids victory by one goal. If Colorado beats LAFC by two or more goals, then the Rapids would go to the playoffs instead of the Earthquakes. Unless they can beat the Timbers, the team would need all three of these results to occur to control the last playoff spot.
Assuming the team can get into the playoffs, they will have a tough first matchup with either the Los Angeles Galaxy, Seattle Sounders FC, or Minnesota United FC. These three teams have all had fantastic seasons and have good chances to win the Western Conference and play for the MLS Cup on Nov. 10.