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Updating the MLS Playoff Race


The Chicago Fire and Toronto FC are running out of time to grab hold of an MLS playoff spot and both dropped precious points on Saturday in losing matches they had been favored to win.

TFC's 1-0 home loss to D.C. United, the worst team in MLS, puts a major dent in the team's hopes of reaching the playoffs for the first time in club history. Chicago's loss to Philadelphia came on the road, but the disappointing performance was still unacceptable for a club in dire need of points.

TFC and Chicago weren't along among teams who could have helped themselves in the playoff race. San Jose settled for a draw at home against FC Dallas while Colorado lost in New York. Those results were sweet music for the Kansas City, which sits six points out of the playoffs with eight matches to go.

Here is a look at the playoff race as it stands right now:


1W-Los Angeles Galaxy (6 games left)….47 points

1E-Columbus Crew (6)…………………..44 pts

2W-Real Salt Lake (6)…………………..44 pts

3W-FC Dallas (7)………………………..41 pts

2E-New York Red Bulls (6)……………….40 pts

4W-Colorado Rapids (7)…………………34 pts

3E-San Jose Earthquakes (8)……………33 pts

4E-Seattle Sounders (6)…………………33 pts

======================================Playoff Cutoff

Toronto FC (6)………………………….28 pts

Kansas City Wizards (8)………………..27 pts

Chicago Fire (8)………………………..26 pts

Chivas USA (7)………………………….25 pts

Philadelphia Union (7)…………………..24 pts

New England Revolution (7)…………….24 pts




Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids

Real Salt Lake vs. FC Dallas


Columbus Crew vs. Seattle Sounders

New York Red Bulls vs. San Jose Earthquakes

(San Jose would have higher seed than Seattle based on fewer games played as of now.)


Disappointed with Chicago and Toronto's performances? Think Kansas City can make a run? What current playoff match-up would you most be looking forward to?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. It’s never disappointing to see TFC fail. It’s a lot more fun that way, eh?

    Shame about the Fire. I had high hopes at the beginning. There’s no excuse for the sorry state of this club.

  2. Sigi Schmid argues that 1.50 points average gets you into the playoffs almost without fail. Looking at these standings that seems to be accurate. 45 points basically guarantees you’re in. 42-44 is in more likely than not.

  3. I hope KC does not make it. The reason I don’t want to see KC in the playoffs is to see that awful field again. It’s like playing game of futsal because that field is so small that the ball just flies all over the field. Next year, different story.

  4. half baked cab – stadium is a done deal, ground has been broken, just waiting for construction to finish.

    Peta – just friendly ribbing with savy comment but yeah attendance is higher, plus when ever international friendlies are played at Relaint the place is filled to the rafters. FIFA came to Houston to evaluate the US bid. maybe comparing the 2 cities wasnt called for, but yeah Houston is a savy market for the beautiful game.

    You are right we will not even be sniffing the playoffs this season. Unfortunate but it is time allow some of the old SJ boys to ride off into the sunset and see what the new kids can do with the remaining game.

  5. Yeah red bulls dnt fill the stadium up but if I’m not mistaking we still average top attendence? Right or rong? We double triple what fc dallas averages. Fc dallas is a good team but I think people much rather see sounders red bulls .

  6. Last season, Ives did the playoff projections on a Points Per Game Played (PPG) basis, which is, to my mind, a much more useful way of looking at things. The way that Ives has presented the matchups here seems fairly useless to me, given the reality of differing numbers of games played:

    1. Los Angeles Galaxy 1.96

    2. Columbus Crew 1.83

    3. Real Salt Lake 1.83

    4. FC Dallas 1.78

    5. New York Red Bulls 1.67

    6. San Jose Earthquakes 1.50

    7. Colorado Rapids 1.48

    8. Seattle Sounders FC 1.38


    Kansas City Wizards 1.23

    Chicago Fire 1.18

    Toronto FC 1.17

    Chivas USA 1.09

    Philadelphia Union 1.04

    New England Revolution 1.04

    Houston Dynamo 1.00

    D.C. United 0.75

  7. I am still not over the 2 points that Terry Vaughn stole from Seattle in Dallas. I would feel a lot better if Seattle had 35. I am very aware that Seattle gave away quite a few points, but at least they did that on their own.

  8. Agreed. They should just take those 8, and re-seed them. This contrived playoff system is absolutely ridiculous. How do we NOT have a single table yet!?!?!? C’mon Garber!

  9. Just thought of something. What if RB win? Wonder if they would hold rally in RB Arena? Or maybe downtown Newark? Jeje. Better yet, the Canyon of Heroes?!

  10. Rapids more than happy to take Houston or Chivas’ spot this year in the playoffs. Just hope we finish the season with above 40 points this year!

    And I believe RSL are “so called” champs, because they are…well, champs. I think it’s appropriate to so call them.

    RSL v Rapids games are always fun to watch. Both are playing good (though very different) soccer. Would be extra-fun to see them in a playoff situation.

    And Jason Kreis dresses like Inspector Gadget.

  11. I like that idea, but the lack of home games for any team really blows for that team’s fan base. Other than that, the emotions of fans haha, it’s really pretty good.

  12. As an RSL fan, i love the arguments that “teams from small conferences or with poor histories are a shame to the league when the win championships.” I simply don’t understand it.

  13. So the two best teams in the East get “rewarded” for a fine regular season by having to open the playoffs on the road on the west coast. How does that make any sense?

  14. really “so-called champs” coming from a fan of a team who got knocked out of the playoffs two years in a row by the “so called champs”

  15. Yea, any team with only 2 losses from 23 games is not going to be an easy matchup in the playoffs. It’s really too bad you guys can’t fill the stadium down there. (coming from a city where our team which started in the A-league in ’99 has plummeted through the leagues because of poor attendance due to awkward “home” fields at high schools or minor league baseball diamonds which change almost yearly…)

  16. Never did I mention the city of San Jose. “SJ” was meant to refer to the club not the city itself. Houston got a pretty good team when the Earthquakes were moved.
    Saying Houston is more soccer savy really doesn’t carry much weight IMO unless better attendance = savy. Outside of that there is really no evidence to make such a claim. There are plenty of folks out here that know their footy.
    I guess we’ll find out who wins what next but I think it’s safe to say that barring a miracle Houston won’t be sniffing even the playoffs this year.

  17. It makes no sense that a team with the 4th best record (NYRB) gets an easier first-round matchup (points wise) than the team with best record overall (LAG).

  18. Yeah, the division thing just doesn’t work. I’d like to see one table with the top eight divided into two groups of four for the playoffs, World Cup Style. Just make the higher seeded squad in each game the home team-a big reward for the regular season. Then take the champs of each group in a one off MLS Cup game on neutral ground. This will never happen but I like it. Playoffs would look like this:
    Group A: (1)LA Galaxy, (4) Dallas, (5)NY, (8) Seattle
    Group B: (2)Columbus, (3)RSL, (6)Colorado, (7)San Jose
    (LA and Columbus would get three home games, Dallas and RSL would get two, NY and Colorado would get one, and Seattle and San Jose would be completely on the road (yikes, as I’m a Sounders fan)
    Bomb away, but anything’s better than the current playoff nonsense…

  19. they don’t except for the top two seeds. If you ever want a good laugh listen to Garber explain why he thinks the two conferences idea helps the league… basically so he can tell two teams they won their (east and west) leagues… imagine if their where two gold medals in olympics

  20. Not really. But in a way, yes… it could happen (probably not this year, as NY are looking solid) that 7 teams from one conference end on higher point totals than the second place team in the other conference. But for example, say Chivas wins out (21 pts + the 25 they already have = 46 pts) and NY hits a slump and only makes it to 45 pts. Also assume that Toronto and Chicago and KC muddle through and end up in the 35-45 pt range, and that Seattle, SJ, Colorado, and Dallas surpass 45 points. Then you’d have NYRB in the 2E spot and Chivas missing the playoffs despite Chivas having more points on the season.

    So technically the best 8 teams (by points) don’t necessarily make the playoffs. This is similar to the setup in the NHL, where divisional winners are seeded 1-2-3 even if a second place team from a strong division has more points than the winner of a weak division. Doesn’t make a lot of sense, but that’s the way it’s set up.

  21. can’t believe Chicago have played themselves out of the playoffs. it seamed like everything was going to be in place this year for a good run.

    also.. I am hoping for a RSL vs. Rapids opening round game! bring on the so-called “champs”. GO RAPIDS!

  22. For sure, it doesn’t make much sense except in trying to keep some “American” aspects (the other major sports leagues all have conferences). But I still remember attending a DC @ Columbus game back in 1996 and being shocked at the five-second-timer, dribble-in-from-the-halfway-line “shootout” to determine a winner in a regular season match. Not even kicks from the mark, just some awful, contrived setup. I am of the opinion that MLS should follow the single-table format that most other leagues use, especially now that there are enough teams that they’re playing a balanced schedule (home and away vs. each team) rather than playing, say, 4 games per year against conference teams and only 2 against non-conference teams. The USA may not be ready for promotion/relegation for a long, long time, but streamlining with the rest of the world in other ways is a good thing. Well maybe not playing through the winter instead of summer… that’d get pretty sketchy in many MLS cities.

    But as a fan of Seattle (family ties out there) and Columbus (closest team to Pittsburgh), I wouldn’t complain if they match up in the playoffs.

  23. I do not think the city of SJ can say they had anything to do with the building of the now Houston Dynamo. AEG and the management team did all of that work. SJ did not want to build them a stadium so you lose your team. Houston was the beneficiary of SJ’s lack of commitment to their team. So to direct your ill wishes at the club, players and management is a case of sour grapes and misplaced frustration

    Besides Houston is a much more soccer savy city than San Jose. We will win another championship before SJ even sniffs the cup.

  24. Now that I can definitely understand. Might be an interesting re-match to the Open Cup final as well.

    I just don’t see raising a EC banner next year and thinking “yeah, this is great!” That seems to be Garber’s main justification for conferences and I don’t get it.

  25. Red bulls is going to in it all !!! I would like to see sounders get in it they have been playing good lately and who wants to 2 fc dallas play? Honestly?

  26. SJ and SEA are level on points but after this weekend’s games, SJ has better goal differential. They split the season series, with each team winning 1-0 on the road. SJ also has games in hand, so while Seattle could theoretically win out (6 games = 18 pts) and end on 51 pts, SJ has 24 possible points still out there and could max out at 57 if they win all eight remaining games. So from both “if the season ended today” and “let’s project how things might end”, SJ has the edge for 7th.


  27. I’m pretty excited about Seattle’s potential berth in the EC bracket… I can’t make it to the game in Columbus this Saturday but there’s a good chance Seattle comes back east for the playoffs, which I might be able to get to!

  28. I thought Seattle was in 7th?

    (Seattle is currently in 7th based on goal differential, but without taking games in hand into account. If the season were ended prematurely games in hand would be taken into account (points per game would then be the tie-breaker, not just points, so San Jose should be ahead of Seattle.)

  29. While we hear complaints that the CCL and Open Cup are meaningless or wastes of time, I’m hardpressed to figure out how I’m supposed to get excited about Seattle making an Eastern Conference title run.

  30. Philly’s probably kicking themselves right about now for some of the points they’ve dropped over the season, they could be right in the middle of this thing instead of on the fringe…


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