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MLS Playoff Race (Through Week 26)

Fredy Montero 1 (ISIphotos.com) 

                                                                   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:

Eastern Conference

Columbus………..1.75 points per match (ppm); 42 points from 24 matches

Chicago………….1.56 ppm; 39 points from 25 matches

Western Conference

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

Playoff Contenders

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

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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.

Comments

  1. I know it’s nit-picking but, “the Revolution were harshly done by a dubious penalty kick against Chivas”?!? I’m dubious that you watched the match in it’s entirety if this is your opinion. A terribly misleading one word summation of one of the more lop-sided games of the season.

    (SBI-JB, it was a highly-questionable penalty call. You can choose to disagree but the consensus is that it was a bad call. Also, if you think that was one of the more lop-sided games of the season I suggest you watch more games.)

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  2. Jason,

    we’re talking about what’s better for MLS. i agree with Harry. of course we want the best teams, but given that they are all so close in quality, i’m saying the ones who will help MLS grow are these big fan supported teams -> $$$ -> better players -> better for soccer in USA. get it?

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  3. Crew v. New England in round 1 would be interesting. The two teams have not played yet this year and are set to play twice in October. Could end up playing 4 times in just over 30 days.

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  4. Lamar Hunt was big on the idea that every team get a home playoff game, so that’s why the first round is 2-legged while the Conference Finals and MLS Cup are one game.

    And Harry, I’m more interested in the best teams making the playoffs. I couldn’t care less about the crowd support. We are watching a soccer game right, not “America’s Best Supporters”?

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  5. To be honest Seattle Sounders,LA Galaxy,Dc United and Toronto Fc need to be in the playoffs..they are strong franchises with their fan-base and support….and when these teams do good their fans come out in numbers. Im watching Colorado Games and thier is barley any fans in the stands even when they are winning..

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  6. If anybody ever wanted to see Blanco smiling at you from a stylish polo or Kyle Beckerman gazing longingly into the camera, do go to mlsnet.com and look at the All-Star Lifestyle photos on the front page

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  7. I would not want to face TFC in the playoffs. I hope the Fire can get it done this year. Next year will definitely be a rebuilding year, with quite a few players leaving. Also with 3 expansion teams (and 2 expansion drafts) in the next two years, our depth will be depleted enormously.

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  8. Toronto will be a different team with DeGuzman in the lineup. Not only is he a good player but Guevara and Dero will be that much better by having another player in the middle who can pass at their skill level.

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  9. Does anyone know why the playoffs are set up the way they are?

    Why is the second round a single game, while the first round is home and away?

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  10. Agreed, if we are playing east and west brackets, then only west play in the west and east in the east. None of this garbage of New York taking the western conference again. If they insist on the wild card spots, make it 2 and not 4.

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  11. If there are 5 teams qualified from the western conference, the 5th team (e.g. Seattle) would play the 1st team (e.g. columbus) in the eastern conference.

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  12. Hoping DC has the pelotas to bring their A game, sit their senior citizen squad, and win at home. No youth or speed up top is killing them, along with a wide open Pontius and Emilio with the ball on a break away.

    I HATE the playoff system. Top 4 teams in each Division get in, or you go to a one table system. Eastern teams playing in the Western bracket, or vice versa, is WPS level. Get on my level.

    Reply

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