TNF: Crucial Western Conference Showdown

Well, except every Western Conference game is crucial at this point, and in a just world the East would have seven playoff spots and the West one. So this game shouldn't matter, but, lamentably, does.

On the bright side - these teams despise each other. They've met in the playoffs so many times (although they almost certainly won't this year), had too many close games, and had the Dallas goalkeeper cheap-shot too many Rapids defenders. So Hunter Freeman, Jovan Kirovski and Kyle Beckerman are gone? I doubt that will matter to the fans at Pizza the Hutt. Especially when they can give Cory Gibbs a hero's welcome in his return to Frisco. Did he ever play in Frisco? I can't be bothered to check. Maybe it was in the Cotton Bowl or Dragon Stadium or whatever.

The Rapids are making a valiant attempt to save their season - new coach, new rules, Christian Gomez coming off the bench, Herculez Gomez sent packing. There's no reason to give up hope, though, if you believe the MLSnet preview:

Except, well....here's the thing. If Colorado loses, the Rapids will be at the foot of the Western Conference with seven games to play, shut out in at least four of their last six games, and five points out of eighth, at least. That should kill them. If the Rapids tie, they will be at the foot of the Western Conference with seven games left, still unable to score, and still five points off (unless Toronto does the West a huge favor this Saturday, and they won't). That also should be enough to finish them off. If Colorado wins, it will be the second time they've won on the road this year.

So I'm not liking the Raps' chances. Dallas, 2-0. Gary Smith will get an extra-long offseason to prepare for 2009, which I assume is what's happening with the Herculez Gomez trade. I wonder who else is on the block?