While we now know which eight teams will be playing in the 2010 MLS playoffs, what we don't know is which teams will be facing each other in two weeks when the playoffs begin. The final week of the regular season games will help clear up a playoff picture that is still too tough to predict.
As things stand, here are the current playoff match-ups:
#1 New York Red Bulls vs. #4 San Jose Earthquakes
#2 Columbus Crew vs. #3 Colorado Rapids
#1 Los Angeles Galaxy vs. #4 Seattle Sounders
#2 Real Salt Lake vs. #3 FC Dallas
The seeds could shift any number of ways, with none of the eight seeds locked in yet. Here is where the eight playoff teams could wind up:
NEW YORK RED BULLS– Clinch No. 1 seed with a win vs. New England on Thursday OR a Columbus loss to Philadelphia. Othewise, New York will be the No. 2 seed.
COLUMBUS CREW– Clinch No. 1 seed with a win vs. Philadelphia and New York tie or loss to New England. Can also clinch No. 1 seed with tie and New York loss. Otherwise, Columbus will be the No. 2 seed.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES– Clinches No. 4 seed in WEST with two wins in remaining games (Chivas USA and Kansas City) and Seattle loss to Houston. Clinches No. 3 seed in East with two wins or one win in either remaining game and Colorado loss. Otherwise, San Jose will be No. 4 in East.
COLORADO RAPIDS– Clinches No. 4 seed in Western Conference with win and Seattle loss. Clinches No. 3 seed in East with win and San Jose loss or tie in either remaining game. Otherwise, Colorado will be No. 4 in the East.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY– Clinches No. 1 seed in West with a win OR a tie and Real Salt Lake loss. Otherwise, Los Angeles will be the No. 2 seed in the West.
REAL SALT LAKE– Clinches No. 1 seed in West with a win AND Los Angeles loss or tie. Can also clinch No. 1 seed in West with a tie and Los Angeles loss. Otherwise, Real Salt Lake will be the No. 2 seed in the West.
FC DALLAS– Clinches No. 3 seed in the West with win or Seattle loss or tie. Otherwise, FC Dallas will be the No. 4 seed in the West.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS– Clinches No. 3 seed in the West with a win and FC Dallas loss. Clinches No. 4 seed in West with win or tie, or Colorado loss or tie. Otherwise, Seattle will be the No. 3 seed in the East.
As you can see, there are too many playoff possibilities to really project what the match-ups will be, but it does seem pretty clear that the first round of the 2010 MLS Playoffs could be the most competitive in league history.
Which match-up would you love to see in the first round? Hoping for a Seattle-Columbus rematch? How about an LA-FC Dallas first-round series? What team do you absolutely not want your team to face in the first round?
Share your thoughts below.