Here's where the Timbers sit with another week of games a thing of the past.
With three regular season remaining, the Portland Timbers have done everything they can to put themselves in position to secure an Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs spot in the Western Conference. Four-consecutive wins place the Timbers firmly tied for fifth place in the Western Conference, undoubtedly a more comfortable position with the LA Galaxy now five points in their wake, but there is still work to be done as eight points separating spots two through seven.
Portland can reach 54 total points if it wins out, but that's no easy task with games in Columbus, Ohio, and Salt Lake City, Utah, still remaining. A top four finishes guarantees the Timbers at least one playoff game at Providence Park, and they currently sit a point below that mark now. We know how high the Timbers can climb, but what about the teams around them? We'll take an updated look at that here.
FC Dallas (49 points, 3 games left)
Currently in third place, FC Dallas are in the drivers seat when it comes to teams three through seven.
Portland can still catch FC Dallas, but will need coach Luchi Gonzalez's team to slip up with at least a draw and defeat. Coming off a 2-1 win against LAFC and 3-0 win against Minnesota United, Dallas can climb to 58 points with games at San Jose, at Colorado and against Sporting Kansas City remaining.
Nashville SC (46 points, 3 games left)
Nashville SC is the team to catch as it currently occupies the third-and-final opening round home game out west. Currently a point ahead of the Timbers with as many games played, jumping one spot higher up the table is a possibility ahead of the postseason.
However, that won't be easy as Nashville is in the midst of a five-game unbeaten run, including four wins in a row in that stretch. One reason for hope? Nashville's remaining slate includes games in Austin and against LAFC in Southern California. They have a home match against Houston between the two.
Portland could very well catch up with Nashville, but the Timbers must be perfect themselves with a difficult slate of their own.
Minnesota United (45 points, 3 games left)
It will be a race to the finish line against Minnesota United. Portland's 1-0 win on September 10 proved crucial in leveling these two teams who are both now in a fight for a home playoff game against aforementioned Nashville SC.
The Loon's remaining games include trips to Kansas City, Kansas, and San Jose, California before concluding their regular season at home against Vancouver. It's likely the battle between Portland and Minnesota United is something we see come down to Decision Day.
Real Salt Lake (43 points, 4 games left)
Real Salt Lake currently occupies the seventh and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but they also have a game in hand against all but one team above them.
If RSL stays perfect it can finish with at many as 55 points–very much in the mix alongside the three teams above them. They have road games against Austin FC and the LA Galaxy as well as home games against FC Cincinnati and Portland left. The Decision Day game between Real Salt Lake and the Timbers in Sandy, Utah, come October 9 has the potential to be one of the most intriguing of the entire slate.
LA Galaxy (40 points, 4 games left)
Portland has built ample separation between it and the Galaxy thanks to its four-game winning streak, but LA still has the most games in hand out of any team out west.
The Galaxy will have used that game in hand by the time Portland plays Columbus over the weekend. LA dropped a 3-0 loss Wednesday against Vancouver and, as of this writing, can reach as many as 52 total points with matches against Colorado (at home), SJ (away), RSL (home) and a Decision Day finale on the road against Houston remaining.
Seattle Sounders (39 points, 4 games left)
You have probably heard this statistic a thousand times: Seattle has never missed the playoffs in its MLS history. That could change this season, but the Sounders still have a bit of life left in them, at least at this point.
As always, Brian Schmetzer's team won't go down without a fight and can reach 51 points if it ends the season on an unlikely winning run. The Sounders have won twice on the bounce, both at home against Houston and Austin. They must go on the road for games against Vancouver and Sporting Kansas City before finishing the season at home against San Jose.
If the teams above Seattle take care of business, the Sounders could still be on the outside looking in come the end of the regular season. They don't necessarily control their own destiny. For now, though, they figure to offer one final challenge as the season winds down.