The Vancouver Whitecaps don't need to win their season finale to make the playoffs, but coach Carl Robinson would prefer to see his team take care of business against the visiting Colorado Rapids on Saturday night.
Vancouver (11-8-14) enters with 47 points, one ahead of Portland for the Western Conference's fifth and final playoff berth. The Whitecaps can lock up that spot with a win or a Timbers loss at FC Dallas in a game that begins 1 1/2 hours before this one. Vancouver would also get in if both matches end in a draw.
"We need to win," Robinson told MLS' official website. "I firmly believe Portland will go to Dallas and get a result ... so that will be our focus and that will be the message I send to the guys. I won't be looking at their result. I'll be focusing on what we can do.
"The reality is if we win the game, we're in, and that's all my focus is, so that's the mentality we'll have going into the game."
The Whitecaps are seeking a fourth consecutive clean sheet after playing to a scoreless draw at San Jose last Saturday. David Ousted recorded his league-leading 12th shutout as Vancouver improved to 3-0-1 in its last four matches.
"It's always important to keep clean sheets, it's always important to put up good numbers, and I'm happy with where I am," Ousted said. "I'm not done yet and we're not done yet as a team, so hopefully we can continue."
Vancouver would appear to have a good chance to do just that against the Rapids, who are mired in a franchise-worst 13-game winless stretch (0-11-2). Colorado (8-17-8) is coming off its third consecutive loss, 1-0 at Dallas last Saturday.
"We've got one more game - really try to go out and win the game," coach Pablo Mastroeni said. "Really start preparing for next year in the offseason but make sure we don't disregard the importance of (Saturday's) game. It's another opportunity for all of us to end the season on the right note."
The Rapids are 4-1-0 over a five-game stretch against the Whitecaps. Colorado has won both of this year's meetings, including 2-1 in Vancouver on April 5 thanks to two late goals from Jose Mari.
"It's a difficult game for us against a team that hasn't won many games recently, but they're still a good group of players and we have to be wary of that," Robinson said. "But if we can get ourselves right, mentally as well as physically, then hopefully we can get a result."
Aside from that April 5 win, the Rapids are 1-11-3 in their other 15 road games. They have been outscored 26-6 during an eight-game skid away from home.
Colorado is allowing a league worst-tying 1.85 goals per game.
The Whitecaps will have a pregame ceremony to honor recently retired defender Jay DeMerit, the club's first MLS signing in 2010. DeMerit played his final game June 7.