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MLS Playoff Race (Through Week 29)


Another frenetic weekend of MLS action and it was a couple of road teams injecting a new look in the ever-clearing MLS playoff picture. Chivas USA and Seattle both improved their postseason credentials and chances with dramatic wins away from the comforts of home.

Chivas dispatched a forlorn and bland D.C. United side in front of a season-high crowd by a 2-0 score. Not only does the win boost the standing of Chivas, but it also dampens the hopes of United who seem poised to miss out on postseason play for a second consecutive year.

Sigi Schmid and Seattle worked their magic out in Ohio, coming away with a narrow 1-0 win over Columbus. Roger Levesque was the unlikely goal scorer, and the Sounders also had to survive Guillermo Barros Schelotto's first missed PK in MLS.

With the weekend's results, Los Angeles and Houston have officially joined Columbus in the postseason. New England's one point in two matches wasn't the best result, but they cling to the eighth and final spot at the moment.

Here's a look at the current playoff picture:


Columbus………..1.77 points per match (ppm); 46 points from 27 matches

Chicago………….1.46 ppm; 41 points from 28 matches


Houston………….1.57 ppm; 44 points from 28 matches

Los Angeles………1.57 ppm; 44 points from 28 matches


Chivas USA……..1.57 ppm; 41 pts from 26 matches

Seattle………….1.46 ppm; 41 pts from 28 matches

Colorado………..1.44 ppm; 40 pts from 28 matches

New England…….1.41 ppm; 38 pts from 27 matches


Toronto FC………………1.30 ppm; 35 points from 27 matches

D.C. United………………1.29 ppm; 36 points from 28 matches

Real Salt Lake…………….1.26 ppm; 34 points from 27 matches

FC Dallas………………….1.22 ppm; 33 points from 27 matches

Kansa City Wizards……….1.19 ppm; 32 points from 27 matches

San Jose Earthquakes…….1.07 ppm; 28 points from 27 matches



Columbus Crew vs. Colorado Rapids

Chicago Fire vs. New England


Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders

Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Chivas USA

No one is dead and buried quite yet, though with the way things are shaking up, the point total needed looks to be in the low 40 mark — perhaps 41 or 42. That leaves longshots FC Dallas, Kansas City and San Jose needing to win all their matches to have any chance, while D.C., Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC could secure berths if they win out (though the way D.C. is playing, it is tough to picture United taking six points from its remaining two matches).

The Supporters' Shield race will come down to LA, Houston and Columbus. Chicago, Seattle and Chivas all have an outside shot at it, but the defending champs stand as favorites at the moment. The West looks poised to lock up five playoff berths, much the same way the East did in 2008.

What do you think of the current playoff outlook? Who is going to join the three qualified teams next week?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I don’t think we (at least this Sounder fan) are blaming teams for playing that way. I think it is a bit suprising that an expansion team would be given that much respect.

    Much like the Sounders did on the road last week, when you get the lead you do what you can to make sure you get a result. The Sounders must do a better job of finishing the counters they get when trying to hold a lead.

  2. If the Sounders are so predictable that all teams have to do is bunker down and beat them, than that’s on Sigi and not on the other teams, aka LA. Lack of quality finishing and suspect defense on counterattacks is why Seattle loses those games, not because a team bunkers down.

    So essentially, Seattle fans, quit whining. It’s your team’s own fault that other MLS teams play that way. It’s the Hack-A-Shaq mentality in the MLS.

  3. I don’t doubt that Marshall did some work on the PK spot. I am sure the dead grass all around there had nothing to do with the fact they have been using it as a football stadium.

    Keller also claimed to have scouted Schelotto had said he prefers to go down the middle on shots. When Keller didn’t move there is some belief it forced a change of direction. The only pk more poorly taken was the one by Fjunberg ealier this year at Qwest. You have to make the keeper save it, even if it is right down the middle.

  4. Sigi played like a scared rabbit. Defending with 8 for 20 minutes will get you nothing but a loss 99% of the time. Anyone who knows his football knows this is a losing strategy. Sigi should not be complemented for being extremely lucky, as Columbus pounded the Sounders in waves for 15 minutes.

    Lucky is not good, just lucky.

  5. Ha ha! Wow, that’s neat: he took a C and added it on to the beginning of the Rapids’ name to make “Crapids”! Get it? “CRAPids”! A ha ha ha ha ha ha! Clever. Oh my. That’s giving it to them folks in Colorader. Yessir, you betcha!

  6. Every game at Qwest this year the visitors have played anti-soccer with the LA Girls the worst of the bunch. I’m used to European football and that LA game was unbelievably lame.

  7. I think Toronto’s the only outsider that’s going to sneak in…

    They have 2 home games (San Jose, Real Salt Lake) and a game against New York… playing the league’s 2 worst teams in your final 3 games can only help your chances.Compare that to New England… Columbus twice and Chicago…

  8. Fair enough, Never First. I’d never claim CC got to where they are b/c they cheat. I’ve only watched them three or four times this year, but they’ve always impressed me with their discipline and their possession game, and of course GBS is always a pleasure to watch.

    I’m actually would like to see a lot of the extra-curriculars curtailed in MLS. I just don’t happen to think what the Sounders did on that PK was worse or significantly worse than what I’ve seen on other PKs this year. Not surprising you and I have different takes, though.

  9. Supsam, recently, opponents have played a very defensive game against the Sounders when playing at Qwest field. If the Sounders were better quality they could control the game regardless of how teams play.
    Recently at Qwest, many teams have rarely ventured out of their defensive third. Even the Revolution, who won 1-0 at Qwest, didn’t threaten all that much. I doubt SammySounder was asserting the dominance of the Sounders. Probably just hoping we can see some open play at Qwest field.

  10. Supsam,

    You don’t think they might be 10th in goal scoring because teams bunker down especially at Qwest.

    As for owning Houston, so far this year the Sounders do. 2-0-1 including the open cup.

    Sigi played that game in columbus correctly, and walked away with 3 points despite Hurtado making really the only dumb play I can recall from him all year.

  11. @ Sammysounder

    Since when do teams bunker down when they go up against Seattle? You got to be kidding me. I mean come on, you guys are like in 10th place in goals scored and are not exactly a dominant club right now.

  12. As a Sounders fan, I’m much more comfortable when I see Houston or Columbus on the schedule. When our opponent comes to play we usually do well. When we run into a team that just bunkers down and looks to counter we don’t look so good.

  13. Jason, point taken. I think delaying a match 3 minutes and kicking up the grass is a bit different than knocking the ball away, but that’s just my opinion.

    I just want to make sure everyone who whines about Moreno falling down too easily reads this. People on this Web site act like the Crew are in first place because they cheat.

  14. One thing to know about Seattle’s play off chances: They have a winning record against Columbus, Houston, LA and Colorado, an even record with Chicago, and a losing record with only Chivas and New England, who might not even make it.

    Point being, Seattle plays to the level of their opponent. Too bad they give away results to San Jose, Dallas, RSL and Kansas City, but they’re most likely not going to be around in a few weeks.

  15. Neverfirst, just strikes me as the typical gamesmanship you see all the time in MLS. Like how Alejandro Moreno falls down when you breath on him, or how Moreno always manages to throw the ball in about two yards from where it went out, or how two or three times a game someone slaps a dead ball out of an opponent’s hands or kicks it away from his feet to prevent a quick restart.

    I actually prefer the honest truth than the typical lame attempt to paint a saintly veneer over what actually goes on in a given match.

  16. Anyone else read this on I don’t know if this qualifies as cheating, but seriously, why would the Sounders even admit this? Just curious what others think. If nothing else, it is in poor taste to intentionally tear up another team’s field.

    “Evans admitted that he and his teammates tried to ice Schelotto by stalling. It took approximately three minutes before Schelotto was allowed to step to the ball.

    ‘We tried to get in his head the best we can,’ Evans said.

    The delay allowed Seattle defender Tyrone Marshall to scuff the ground around the ball. Schelotto afterward mentioned the poor condition of the grass but said that was no excuse for missing. Still, he’s got Marshall seared in his mind in case the teams meet again and it’s a sure bet the next time Schelotto takes a PK there will be a phalanx of teammates protecting the spot.”

  17. Nice wrap up, Ives.

    Though I will say, again, that FCD, KC, and SJ are all still technically alive.

    I think FCD has a real shot, and with Colorado’s and NE’s tough finishing stretches, I think 2 teams currently out of the top 8 could sneak in.

  18. So are you just not worrying about FC Dallas’ chances? If they win the last 3 (hard to do) they have a 94.5% chance to make the playoffs.

    Kinda odd to omit a team who is still in the hunt…

  19. It’s crazy with two games to go that the Sounders have a small chance of missing the playoffs and a slight chance of winning the division.

  20. Seattle owns Houston.

    Posted by: bud | October 05, 2009 at 05:04 PM

    Based on a 2-1 win and a 1-1 draw? Yeah, that’s some thorough domination there.

  21. Not to mention a couple of those wins came in the US open cup games where neither team played their best lineup. The playoffs are a whole different game. It should be fun to watch though.

  22. Seattle has played well against Houston this season, but they were missing a lot of their best players for the game in Houston, and the game in Seattle was won on a phantom goal by Montero.

  23. have to say the season this year has maintained an air of excitment that i don’t remember in season’s past. this playoff race where so many teams are eligible at this point in the season has made a number of matches must see.

    this is much, much better than when it was 6 out of 9 (?) teams making the post season.

  24. Sigi played the Columbus game just fine. Anyone who thinks the last few minutes of that game weren’t going to be hairy no matter what has never played on or watched a team with pride (in any sport) defend a long unbeaten streak. GBS’ missed PK saved El Presidente, not Sigi.

    On another note, anyone hear if the Sounders are thinking about opening up the Hawks Nest for the playoffs?

  25. Sacha was class in the DC-Chivas game. Creating chances, including the first goal, and working hard. Nice to see his confidence back. Take note Freddy.

  26. What’s been rumored for a while, Dietmar Beiersdorfer has apparently been appointed sporting director of Red Bull soccer globally.

  27. I gotta disagree. I’m not a big fan of overly defensive football, but my Sounders haven’t been going forward much recently.

    We didn’t do anything but stifle Columbus for the end of the match, but we did stifle Columbus.

    I wish we were better going forward, but our recent lack of goals and excellent defense makes me think Sigi’s strategy is the right one.

  28. I haven’t been a fan of Sigi’s habit of making massive defensive substitutions at the end of games this year. The Sounders hold any sort of lead, and he takes off Montero and Zakuani, in nearly every game. If Sounders do give up a late goal (as they have quite frequently) they don’t have anybody left on the field to possibly grab a late winner. This week, I thought he went to the defensive lineup early, making changes in the 70th minute.

    madmax, I agree with you. The defensive subs didn’t work, as Sounders could never consistently relieve pressure in the last 15. Columbus created several legitimate scoring chances at the end of the game, and Sounders were lucky to get out of there with 3 points. That being said, Sounders have been highly unlucky several times this season to not take 3 points in a number of games, so I think it’s soccer karma.

  29. I don’t know if someone can move up, but the Sounders sure look shaky, and could easily lose their last two. Sigi played 8 men in the box at the end, and only a GBS missed penalty saved Sigi from being the goat, as the Crew destroyed his everybody back strategy.

  30. Nice to see the Galaxy back in the playoffs. I’d love it if DC pulls it off and squeezes in over TFC if for no other reason than to see our neighbors to the north go home wanting yet again. I wouldn’t cry if Chivas bombed out either.


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