Vancouver lone Canadian entrant in MLS Cup Playoffs

Major League Soccer playoffs get underway on Wednesday night and it features some Canadian content in the form of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

In a MLS season that started with great promise and fanfare from Toronto FC, ended with that club and its rival Impact de Montréal missing out on postseason.

Toronto seemed to take an extended vacation following the FIFA World Cup stoppage, never recovering its early season form and missing the playoffs for an eighth consecutive year. Montreal meanwhile served as a retirement home for a handful of aging Italian living legends who couldn’t quite cut it this year after leading their club to the playoffs in 2013.

That leaves Vancouver as the lone playoff-bound Canadian entrant in the top tier of North American club soccer. The Whitecaps will be in Dallas on Wednesday (but not actual Dallas, a city called Frisco so far in North Texas that it may as well be in Oklahoma), in a one-off knockout match where the winner will remain in the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Unlike in European domestic leagues that avid soccer watchers in North America usually turn to on Saturday mornings, MLS rewards the ‘regular season’ team with most points the Supporters’ Shield, but the big prize is the end-of-season MLS Cup, therefore using a playoff system.

Vancouver’s Pacific Northwest rival Seattle Sounders FC lifted the season title with 64 points from 34 matches, 14 ahead of the Whitecaps, which sneaked into the playoffs in the final week of the season.

Should Vancouver beat Dallas, the Canadian team would face Seattle in the next round.