'Caps face climb to playoffs

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 7:25 AM ET

Vancouver Whitecaps need to defuse the Charleston Battery, sink the Seattle Sounders and tame the Atlanta Silverbacks if they want to be among the six teams in the United Soccer Leagues' First Division playoffs.

The task starts tomorrow night when Charleston visits (7 p.m. AM 730).

Third-place Vancouver needs just five points from the final three games - a win and two ties minimum - for a post-season berth. More is needed to jockey with Montreal Impact and Rochester Raging Rhinos for a top-two spot and a first-round bye. As much as Vancouver can look ahead, it must also look behind.

Expansion Miami FC is in fifth and could hinder the Whitecaps' playoff hopes from afar. Sounders, who are holding onto the final playoff spot, may be a threat when they come north on Sept. 8. They're just two points above Atlanta, which visits Vancouver in the Sept. 10 regular season finale.

Whitecaps' disappointing 2-2 tie to visiting Minnesota last Saturday gave the Whitecaps a one-point edge on Charleston. Charleston, which has a game in hand, hasn't played since upsetting the Impact 1-0 on Aug. 16. Its roster lists ex-Sounders' goalkeeper Dusty Hudock and ex-Whitecaps Ian Fuller and Mark Watson.

Whitecaps' striker Jason Jordan, who was sidelined by turf toe, played Saturday for the first time since May 22. The 2005 league MVP is searching for his first 2006 goal. Don't expect him to start, but he could be the "super sub."

"I just wanted to get back in, see how my foot's feeling and play as hard as I can," Jordan said after playing the final seven minutes against Minnesota. "It feels all right now."


Videos

Photos