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Trask Smith

Standings Watch: What to watch and who to root for in Week 28

Every week the games get bigger and bigger as teams chase down spots in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs. The Western Conference continues to be tight, with just nine points separating first from eighth place. Those eight teams are fighting for six spots to get into postseason play this fall. Let's take a look at those teams and their matchups this weekend – and who the Dynamo will be rooting for to solidify their playoff spot.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Columbus Crew SC (6 p.m. | MLS LIVE)

Vancouver has surged to the top of the Western Conference standings with three consecutive wins and a five game unbeaten run. They face a tough test at home against Columbus, a likely Eastern Conference playoff team. The Whitecaps enter the weekend just six points ahead of the Dynamo in fifth place, so a loss or even a home draw would keep them firmly within reach of the Dynamo.

VAN remaining games (7): vs. CLB, vs. COL, at SEA, at SKC, at NY, vs. SJ, at POR

FC Dallas vs. Seattle Sounders FC (7 p.m. | MLS LIVE)

If you’re just focused on securing a playoff spot, you’re rooting for Seattle in this one. If you want a chance to climb up the standings, an FC Dallas win opens an opportunity to catch the Sounders (currently in third). Dallas’ eight-game winless streak has put them in sixth place, one point below the Dynamo. An FCD loss would keep that red line below the Dynamo, while a Seattle loss keeps them within five points of Houston going into the late matches.

DAL remaining games (7): vs. SEA, at MIN, vs. COL, at ORL, at COL, at SEA, vs. LA
SEA remaining games (6): at DAL, at RSL, vs. VAN, at PHI, vs. DAL, vs. COL

Sporting Kansas City vs. New England Revolution (7:30 p.m. | MLS LIVE)

Interconference matchups are always the easiest for rooting interests, pull for New England to pull off the upset at Children’s Mercy Park. Kansas City has slipped to fourth in the West, three points ahead of the Dynamo with 41 total. Sporting also has the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final on Wednesday, so it’ll be interesting to see how minutes are managed with key players with a trophy in sight.

SKC remaining games (7): vs. NE, vs. LA, vs. VAN, at MIN, at HOU, vs. HOU, at RSL

Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers (8:30 p.m. | MLS LIVE)

This is a similar situation to the Dallas vs. Seattle match earlier in the night. RSL is below the red line going into the weekend, but are only three points behind the Dynamo for fifth place. A Real Salt Lake loss could widen the gap between those in and out of the playoffs, giving Houston some breathing room beneath them. Both teams have played two games more than the Dynamo, however.

RSL remaining games (5): vs. POR, vs. SEA, at LA, at COL, vs. SKC
POR remaining games (5): at RSL, vs. ORL, at SJ, vs. DC, vs. VAN

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Houston Dynamo (9:30 p.m. | KUBE 57, MLS LIVE)

This is a pretty big one. San Jose, currently in seventh place and just outside of the playoffs, could leap into fifth with a win over the Dynamo. Houston, on the other hand, can put as much as five points of cushion between themselves and the red line with a win. A draw in this one would definitely favor the Dynamo, however – a point on the road is always welcome, especially when you’re already holding a playoff position.

SJ remaining games (6): vs. HOU, at DC, vs. CHI, vs. POR, at VAN, vs. MIN
HOU remaining games (7): at SJ, at NYC, vs. LA, vs. MIN, vs. SKC, at SKC, vs. CHI