LIVERPOOL – While the Seattle Sounders can clinch a postseason berth this weekend, the Vancouver Whitecaps need to quickly turn things around if they want to hold on to a playoff spot.
The Sounders look to stay unbeaten against the Whitecaps, who try to snap a season-worst six-game winless streak as they continue a four-game homestand Saturday night.
Sitting in fourth place in the Western Conference, Seattle (13-7-9) has a chance to lock up its fourth playoff appearance in as many seasons in the league with a win or draw against Vancouver (10-12-8).
"This is the playoffs right here. If we win, we go in the playoffs," defender Jeff Parke told the club's official website. "It's very important that we get a result."
The Sounders would also be in if FC Dallas fails to beat league-leading San Jose later Saturday.
The Whitecaps, meanwhile, are clinging to fifth place in the West, just two points ahead of Dallas. A loss on Saturday combined with an FC Dallas win would drop Vancouver outside of the playoff picture.
After totaling one goal during a franchise-worst five-game losing streak, the Whitecaps played to a 2-all draw Sunday against Colorado. Vancouver was on the verge of victory before allowing the equalizer in the 86th minute.
"We're two points ahead with four games to go. It should have been a lot more, there's no doubt about that," striker Kenny Miller said.
"We've managed to get a point and stop that poor run of games and results. If we can build on that in the home games to come and put some wins up on the board I think we'll be in good shape for the playoffs."
The Whitecaps play their next three games at BC Place before concluding their regular-season schedule Oct. 27 at Real Salt Lake. While Vancouver has posted a 7-2-5 record at home, it hasn't had much success against Seattle, going 0-2-2 in this Cascadia rivalry.
The Sounders are three points behind Portland in the 2012 Cascadia Cup, with the Timbers still scheduled to face each of these clubs once more. Seattle settled for a 1-all draw at Portland on Sept. 15 before stumbling in its most recent MLS match, losing 2-1 to visiting San Jose last Saturday.
It has been a league-record 61 regular-season matches since the Sounders' last back-to-back defeats.
"It's intense. Guys are flying and a little bit chippy," Parke said. "You feel the effects of a loss. Maybe it lights a little bit of a spark and guys get back on the right path and get the intensity back in training. This week's a good week for it."
After this game, Seattle plays its next three at home before visiting Los Angeles in its regular-season finale Oct. 28. The Sounders are one point behind the Galaxy and Real Salt Lake for second place in the West with one game in hand.
"If we want any chance of getting into that second slot like we talked about earlier in the year, then we have to win this weekend," midfielder Brad Evans said. "There's a few things on the line here, but there's also pride on the line coming off of a deflating defeat. We've got to show up to play."