First off.... the bad news - good news:
-> BAD NEWS: the Sounders have to win their last 4 games to have a decent chance in making the playoffs. A tie or a loss will basically be a gut punch to their chances. Two of their opponents, Cincinnati and Vancouver, are also fighting for their playoff lives so they will throw everything they have at the Sounders. And Cincy and Vancouver are the Sounders next two opponents.
The next opponent after that is at Sporting Kansas City. While SKC is basically out of the playoffs, this game could be that banana peel that the Sounders slip on. Seeing that the Sounders' playoff chances hang on a thread at this point, might be enough motivation for them to beat the Sounders. Especially since SKC and the Sounders have a history of bad blood between them.
-> GOOD NEWS: the Sounders and the Galaxy have 4 games left while the teams around them have only 3 games left. That does help the team in case there is a slip up. If the Sounders win at Vancouver, win at home against Cincinnati and win at Sporting Kansas City, the last game of the year will be at home against lowly San Jose. I like how this stacks up for the Sounders.
Here are the standings right now, from 3 to 11:
3- Dallas (13 wins - 10 ties - 8 losses - 49 points)
4- Nashville (12 wins - 10 ties - 9 losses - 46 points)
5- Minnesota (13 wins - 6 ties - 12 losses - 45 points)
6- Portland (11 wins - 12 ties - 8 losses - 45 points)
7- Real Salt Lake (11 wins - 10 ties - 10 losses - 43 points)
8- LA Galaxy (11 wins - 7 ties - 12 losses - 40 points)
9- Sounders (12 wins - 3 ties - 15 losses - 39 points)
10- Colorado (10 wins - 9 ties - 12 losses - 39 points)
11- Vancouver (10 wins - 7 ties - 14 losses - 37 points)
GAMES LEFT (Prediction: W = win; T = tie; L = loss
3 - Dallas: at San Jose (W), at Colorado (T), vs Sporting Kansas City (W) -> 15W - 11T - 8L = 56 points
4 - Nashville: at Austin (L), vs Houston (W), at LFC (L) -> 13W - 10T - 10L = 49 points
5 - Minnesota: at SKC (W), at San Jose (W), vs Vancouver (T) -> 15W - 7T - 12L = 52 points
6 - Portland: at Columbus (L), vs LAFC (T), at RSL (L) -> 11W - 13T - 10L = 46 points
7 - RSL: vs Cincinnati (W), at LA Galaxy (L), vs Portland (W) -> 13W - 10T - 11L = 49 points
8 - LA Galaxy: vs Colorado (W), at San Jose (L), vs RSL (W), at Houston (L) = 13W - 8T - 13L = 46 points
9 - Seattle: at Vancouver (W), vs Cincinnati (W), at SKC (W), vs San Jose (W) = 16W - 3T - 15L = 48 points
10 - Colorado: at LA Galaxy (L), vs Dallas (T), at Austin (L) = 10W - 10T - 12L = 40 points
11 - Vancouver: vs Seattle(L), vs Austin (W), at Minnesota (T) = 11W - 8T - 14L = 41 points
End of the Season Standings (my prediction):
3 - Dallas (56 points)
4 - Minnesota (52 points)
5 - Nashville (49 points)
6 - Real Salt Lake (49 points)
7 - Seattle (48 points)
8 - LA Galaxy (46 points)
9 - Portland (46 points)
10 - Vancouver (41 points)
11 - Colorado (40 points)
You can see that it is going to be tough to win all 4 games and hope that the Galaxy, RSL and Portland drop points. And any dropped points by the Sounders could see them end up tied with the Galaxy and/or Portland, and even maybe out of the playoffs.
If my predictions hold true but the Sounders get a tie from one of those four games, and then let's say that they, the Galaxy and Portland all end up tied, the Sounders will win the tie breaker by having the most wins. Sounders = 15 wins; Galaxy = 13 wins; Portland = 11 wins.
Portland at Columbus: Columbus is fighting for their playoff lives. Prediction is that Columbus wins easily
Portland vs LAFC: This could go either way... win, loss or draw for Portland. Prediction is a tie
Portland at RSL: This game really is going to determine whether who is in the playoffs or not. Prediction is a RSL win. --> Three very tough games for Portland to get any points from.
RSL vs Cincinnati: Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives but RSL is tough to beat at their house during this time of year. Prediction is a RSL win
RSL at LA Galaxy: another tough game for RSL but LA should pull this one out. LA win.
RSL vs Portland: maybe the game to watch on the last day of the season (after the Sounders game). RSL win.
---> luckily for RSL that two of their last three games are at home because their home is a fortress this time of year
LA Galaxy vs Colorado: LA win
LA at San Jose: this is the #1 rivalry on the West Coast after Seattle-Portland. San Jose will look at this as their chance to spoil LA's chances of getting into the playoffs. San Jose win
LA vs RSL: see above. LA win
LA at Houston: Houston win.
---> LA Galaxy's poor road form continues and pretty much kills their chance of being in the playoffs.
Seattle -> wins out against Vancouver, Cincinnati, Sporting KC and San Jose
Colorado -> games against the LA Galaxy, Dallas and Austin are going to be too tough for them. Maybe they'll earn a tie versus Dallas.
Vancouver -> their win against the LA Galaxy was basically it for the team. With tough games against the Sounders, Dallas and Minnesota... there is no realistic path to making the playoffs.
With Portland playing Columbus and RSL on the road and RSL playing Cincinnati and Portland at home, Portland will have a hard time picking up any kind of points, while RSL's path is easier. The Galaxy will have very tough games at San Jose and against RSL... and... that loss to Vancouver will continue to hurt a lot.
Every game matters now.