Dynamo Clinch, Who’s Next?

Dynamo Clinch, Who’s Next?

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On October 6, 2008
  • MLS Cup Playoffs, MLS Weekend Recaps, Playoff Push

Well, well. Another weekend down and everything is still tight as can be in Major League Soccer. No club has been eliminated from playoff contention yet but we did get one more club into the playoffs with Columbus this weekend (Houston).

A wacky weekend really, as there is no other way to put it. Toronto goes on the road and wins in New York. Chivas goes to DC and dominates United. After Colorado looked as though they were back on their way into the playoff mix they get blown out at home to Houston. Real Salt Lake has a two-nil lead on the road to then only blow up and end in a draw to New England.

Its funny how all year we’ve talked about the eastern conference dominating the western. That isn’t the case right now. The west is playing out of their ass and is very close to taking a wild card spot away from the east. Just look at the current playoff standings.

X- Columbus – 53 pts
X- Houston – 43 pts
New England – 43 pts
Chicago -42 pts
Chivas USA – 39 pts
Real Salt Lake – 35 pts
New York Red Bulls – 35 pts
Colorado – 34 pts
FC Dallas – 34 pts
Kansas City – 33 pts
DC United – 33 pts
Toronto FC – 31 pts
San Jose – 30 pts
LA Galaxy – 29 pts

Columbus and Houston are in, we know that. The Crew are a draw or win and a Houston loss away from wrapping up the Supporter’s Shield trophy. New England and Chicago both need a win to get in the playoffs.

But things are very tight elsewhere here. You have Dallas, KC, and DC all within a point of a wild card spot. Toronto of all clubs is only three points out. San Jose has a game in hand with four points out. Plus clubs like New York are slipping out of contention, which is making this all the more interesting.

Funny how a while back I saw 38 points would be a magic number for clubs to get in the playoffs, right now that number doesn’t look as dumb as some people had thought. Everyone has nine possible points left (with the exception of Houston and San Jose who have a 12 possible points left), which means this race is extremely tight.

Kudos to MLS for making things interesting, far more interesting than most of us had originially thought.

So who gets in at this point? I think its far and safe enough to put New England and Chicago in the playoffs. I would even be willing to throw Chivas in that mix as well out west with that second automatic bid. After that is anyone’s guess at this point. Reason being, some clubs are hot and others are not. Let’s look real quickly at what each club has left here.

RSL (Two home games and one road game) – Opening a new park hasn’t gone well for other MLS clubs in a playoff hunt. RSL needs to get that out of the way and hope that the Rice-Eccles karma comes to Rio Tinto Stadium. They should get at least five points out of the last three games, which will get them in the playoffs.

New York (One home game and two road games) – Yikes, at RSL and at Chicago with Columbus visiting. Thankfully for them that one home game with the Crew should be at a point where the Crew have wrapped up the Supporter’s Shield and may be resting people for the post season. But still thats a tough schedule either way and with how their defense has been lately it looks even worse. They need five points but I only see them getting maybe three if they are lucky. More realisticly they could get just one or none.

Colorado Rapids (One home game and two road games) – Two game trip coming up for the Rapids at the Home Depot Center against both LA and Chivas USA. The one home game with RSL is on the final day of the season. I see that game being one that determines who goes to the playoffs and who doesn’t. Right now I just don’t see this club going to the playoffs. I just don’t like their chances right now.

FC Dallas (One home game and two road games) – At home to a desperate Toronto club and then on the road against RSL and to finish out the season in LA. With the way they’ve played recently the Hoops could easily win all three or fall back into their summer habits and lose all three. Six points should put them in, so beating Toronto and then one of the two road games. Honestly though they just need to keep winning in order to get in. Dropping points won’t be an option.

KC (Two home games and one road game) – A home and away series with New England to finish out the year with a San Jose game sprinkled in the mix. I think Curt Onalfo’s job is on the line here with these three games. Two wins and they could be in but they haven’t played well against the Revs in a while and San Jose is a very dangerous team to play right now. I think they may be lucky to get three points out of these games, with four points at the very most.

DC United (One home game and two away games) – At Houston, home to New England and at Columbus. Ouch. Plus their CONCACAF Champions League games in the mix there. AND no more Marcello Gallardo for the remainder of the season. Their chances have gone from slim to none in my eyes here. Just too much on the menu to handle at this point.

Toronto FC (One home game and two away games) – At Dallas, then home to Chicago and then on the road to finish out the season in San Jose. One more loss and they are probably out too. Its a tough schedule though, but if they play like they did in New York they could easily surprise everyone here. I still think it will be too little too late here.

San Jose (Two home games and two away games) – The game in hand helps the Quakes here. Their two home games should be wins (Chivas and Toronto), and they should be able to find points in one of their two road games (Houston and KC). Out of 12 points I think eight would be huge and enough to get them in but they need nine points to be safe. That won’t come easy.

LA Galaxy (Two home games and one road game) – I think they are a game away from elimination. I only put them on here for the point of them not being eliminated yet. With international call-ups this weekend you can bet they will be officially eliminated after this week.