Photo by ISIphotos.com
By TRAVIS CLARK
Everything’s at stake at this late stage of the MLS season. Dropped points now could spell doom for any club — just ask D.C. United. After grabbing three at home with a narrow in against Kansas City on Wednesday, they lost at home to Seattle. United has just four games left in the league calender and need as many wins as they can to have a shot at the playoffs.
The meeting of Columbus and Houston proved to be a tightly fought and physical battle that can be expected from every game. A controversial penalty in stoppage time saw the Crew emerge with the victory, and they are in the driver’s seat to retain the Supporters Shield.
Also hurting their chances over the weekend was New England and Los Angeles. While the Revolution were harshly done by a dubious penalty kick against Chivas, the Galaxy have little excuse except for a horrendous defensive performance that saw Dallas score six goals Saturday night. It’s too soon to panic, but perhaps their defense isn’t as good as previously thought.
Not all is lost for New England, who along with Chivas still control their destiny, each having played just 23 games, at least one or two less than the rest of the contenders. Toronto’s win was important to keep themselves within shouting distance of a first-ever playoff spot.
Here’s a look at the updated standings, taking into account how many matches each team has played:
Columbus………..1.75 points per match (ppm); 42 points from 24 matches
Chicago………….1.56 ppm; 39 points from 25 matches
Chivas USA……..1.57 ppm; 36 pts from 23 matches
Houston………….1.54 ppm; 40 points from 26 matches
Wild Card Playoff Slots
Los Angeles………1.52 ppm; 38 points from 25 matches
Colorado………..1.5 ppm; 36 pts from 24 matches
Seattle………….1.48 ppm; 37 pts from 25 matches
New England…….1.43 ppm; 33 from 23 matches
D.C. United……..1.38 ppm; 36 points from 26 matches
Toronto…………1.36 ppm; 34 points from 25 matches
Real Salt Lake…..1.36 ppm; 34 points from 25 matches
Current First-Round Playoff Pairings
Columbus Crew vs. New England Revolution
Chivas USA vs. Seattle Sounders
Chicago Fire vs. Colorado Rapids
Houston Dynamo vs. Los Angeles Galaxy
What do think of the current playoff standings? Can any of the three contenders make a late run for a playoff berth? Are you glad MLS has adopted the format of four Wild Card teams? Share your thoughts below.