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Coffee with the Caps, Friday October 4

It’s playoff time baby

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at LA Galaxy Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday Caps fans, as we enter the last week of the regular season meaning, of course, that it is the last time we will have to suffer through enjoy the Caps this season.

Fear not, however, as Coffee with the Caps will be going strong throughout both the playoffs and the offseason, with the latest links and #hottakes primed up and ready for you.

Before that, however, we have Decision Day on Sunday evening, as a handful of playoff contenders claw for the last playoff spot. Those teams will not include the Caps’ opponent on Sunday, Real Salt Lake, who have wrapped up a playoff spot. That does not mean, however, that they don’t have anything to play for. The middle of the pack in the West is such a log jam that a win for RSL could see them climb as high as third or fourth—which would mean a playoff game. Now that two-legged series are a thing of the past, that’s a big deal.

A couple teams will consider themselves lucky to make the playoffs at all. Portland, FC Dallas, San Jose and Colorado are all fighting for the last two playoff spots after abysmal runs of form have basically led to each contender blowing chances at securing a playoff berth. The exception is the Rapids, who were bottom of the conference but have used a hot second half to give themselves a chance (albeit unlikely) of advancing to the postseason.

The winner of the Portland/San Jose game Sunday would be a virtual lock to advance to the playoffs. A draw could, in theory, send both teams through but San Jose would need both Dallas and Colorado to lose in order for this to happen. The Rapids are going up against LAFC who, despite taking their foot off the peddle in the second half of the season, are formidable. Meanwhile, FC Dallas have a date with lowly SKC, meaning everything is teed up for them to absolutely blow it.

The East is a bit more cut and dry, although there can be some shuffling in terms of who has home field advantage. NYCFC wrapped up the Eastern Conference crown last week over Atlanta United and the Philadelphia Union and New England similarly wrapped up the last remaining playoff spot. The parity in the East will make it entertaining in the playoffs but it renders Decision Day largely moot.

Despite the fact that it won’t feature the Whitecaps, I’m pretty hyped to see how the new playoff format goes. Will it feature dull 0-0 draws as weaker teams try and grind out a result? Will it feature multi-goal thrillers? Either way, the road to MLS Cup is usually filled with some twists and turns and it’s that “get your popcorn ready” nature that makes it both infuriating (at times) and wildly entertaining. Let us know in the comments if you’ll be watching or sitting this one out .

In the meantime, onto the links...

Shameless Self Promotion

Sam Rowan caught up with Marc Dos Santos to ask him about the prominent role Canadians are playing in the squad, the mood at the club and Jasser Khmiri’s debut. Meanwhile, Caleb makes a compelling argument for why the club should keep Michaell Chirinos around. He also runs down the dealings of the club’s youth players

Best of the Rest

A well-done sit down with departing U.S. Women’s National team coach Jill Ellis

MLS has some CBA ... issues to tackle before next season. Kim McCauley runs them down here

A DeMarcus Beasley retrospective ahead of his final MLS game

The CPL finals start October 26 but the matchup will feature lots of players who hail from League1 Ontario and PDL’s Calgary Foothills. A dive into that here

Rugby World Cup update: Canada was beat down by New Zealand earlier this week but the big story is still host country Japan’s famous victory over Ireland