The Portland Timbers and slumping San Jose Earthquakes are among four teams bidding to secure one of the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference.
The math is simple for Portland (13-13-7, 46 points), as a win or a draw in Sunday's home match against San Jose (13-15-5, 44 points) will add up to a postseason berth. The sixth-place Timbers can also punch their ticket if seventh-place FC Dallas (12-12-9, 45 points) loses or ties versus Sporting Kansas City.
"We didn't want to be in this position," Portland coach Giovanni Savarese said. "We wanted to be qualified ahead of time. We wanted to make sure we had enough points to make sure we not only qualified but we could (finish) higher in the table, to have more opportunities to be able to play at home.
"But the reality is, we could have been out already. We still have a chance, thank God, to be able to make the playoffs. And we're in a good situation, if we do things the right way."
As for the Earthquakes, their simplest path to the playoffs is posting a win over Portland. Should San Jose draw on Sunday, it would then need FC Dallas to lose its final match and Colorado (12-15-6, 42 points) to either draw or fall to Supporters' Shield winner Los Angeles FC.
"After four games (an 0-4-0 start), if you would have asked us if we could play the last game and win it to be in the playoffs, every one of us would have said yes," Earthquakes midfielder Shea Salinas said. "Now we just have to get our heads around one game. We can battle for one game. We can play all out for one game and get the win."
The Timbers and Earthquakes both enter Sunday's match without a win in their past five matches.
Portland collected its third straight draw with a 2-2 decision against Sporting Kansas City last Sunday while San Jose dropped its season-high fifth consecutive contest with a 1-0 setback versus Seattle.
The Earthquakes have mustered just three goals during their losing streak, however they matched that total in the first half of their 3-0 triumph over the Timbers on April 6.
"We're a completely different team than we were back then. More united, more together as far as tactically as well," said Portland's Jeremy Ebobisse, whose 11 goals are tied for the club lead.