Vancouver Whitecaps cannot afford to lose any of their remaining four games, which are all at Swangard Stadium.
Whitecaps had a chance to take sole possession of second place last Saturday, but instead fell to fourth after losing their final regular season road game 2-0 to the Seattle Sounders.
One-time Whitecap Andrew Gregor scored in the 32nd minute for the defending United Soccer Leagues' First Division champions. Leighton O'Brien added a successful 65th minute penalty kick.
"We didn't play our best game and I think they did," said Whitecaps' captain Jeff Clarke. "We let them back in the playoff fight."
Whitecaps haven't beaten the Sounders in a dozen tries since 2004. The game could've been the Whitecaps' last trip to Qwest Field. Sounders may move across Puget Sound to Kitsap County Fairgrounds in 2007 or renew a bid to join Major League Soccer.
Whitecaps host the Minnesota Thunder, who need a win to keep their dim playoff hopes alive, Saturday at 7 p.m. Whitecaps end the schedule with visits from teams jockeying for playoff spots: Charleston Battery (Aug. 31), Seattle (Sept 8) and Atlanta Silverbacks (Sept. 10). The 12-team league's top six teams advance to playoffs.
Meanwhile, Erin McLeod, the 2006 W-League champion Whitecaps' goalkeeper, earned a shutout Saturday in Canada's scoreless draw with China in St. John's. Canada meets China again this afternoon in Newfoundland. Canada is preparing for November's Women's Gold Cup in the United States. The top two teams advance to 2007's Women's World Cup in China. Canada's Whitecap-dominated under-20 women's team plays China tomorrow at the junior world championship in Russia.