Five Down, Three To Go

Five Down, Three To Go

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On October 13, 2008
  • MLS Cup Playoffs, Playoff Push

Congrats to Major League Soccer. Really, for once a playoff race actually has meant something from week one to the end of the season. Usually by now we have at least six or seven clubs already in the playoffs with one or two going for the final spot. This year however is completely different.

Right now NO CLUB HAS BEEN ELIMINATED! Yeah, it deserved the all CAPs there to prove a point. Usually by now at least two or three or even four clubs have been eliminated from playoff contention.

It seems as though as the league expands the playoff push actually start to mean something like we all had hoped it would. Even though most still agree that eight-club playoff in a 14-club league is still too many for a second season it at least has had the drama that most would want it to right now.

So today we have five clubs in and three spots still up for grabs with two weeks left in the year. These two weeks are rather huge if you really think about it since no one has been eliminated. Nearly ever game has some sort of playoff meaning and there is a good chance that the final two playoff spots will be finalized next weekend and not this weekend.

Nine clubs going for three spots is what we are left with. Just how each club looks at getting there is left to be figured out. First let’s just look at the full table along with who plays who over these next two weeks:

Columbus – 54 pts (2 games left; at NY; vs. DC)
Houston – 44 pts (3 games left; vs. SJ, vs. LA; at Chivas)
Chicago – 43 pts (2 games left; at TOR; vs. NY)
New England – 43 pts (2 games left; at DC; vs KC)
Chivas – 42 pts (2 games left; vs. COL; vs. HOU)
Kansas City – 36 pts (2 games left; vs. SJ; at NE)
Real Salt Lake – 36 pts (2 games left; vs. DAL; at COL)
New York – 36 pts (2 games left; vs. CLB; at CHI)
FC Dallas – 35 pts (2 games left; at RSL; at LA)
Colorado – 34 pts (2 games left; at CHV; vs. RSL)
DC United – 34 pts (2 games left; vs. NE; at CLB)
Toronto FC – 32 pts (2 games left; vs. CHI, at SJ)
LA Galaxy – 32 pts (2 games left; at HOU; vs. DAL)
San Jose – 30 pts (3 games left; at HOU, at KC, vs. TOR)

First off there is one more automatic bid out in the west that is left. You can pretty much give it to the winner of the RSL-Dallas game this weekend. Then there is the two wild-card spots. Right now two eastern clubs (New York and KC) sit in them.

Again, let’s look at each club’s chances here:

Real Salt Lake (36 pts.) – A win Saturday and they are in, no question about it. Two games left and I really believe now that the Dallas game will send one club in and put the other a point or two away from a wild-card spot. I believe RSL has the best shot of anyone not in the playoffs right now to make it. Now saying that they have to get a win in these next two. Two draws only makes things harder on themselves. Two losses and Jason Kreis is looking at a very long off-season.

New York (36 pts.) – This club may have it easy since they play two clubs that are already in the playoffs. That sort of helps. Thing is this club continues to shoot themselves in the foot week in and week out. If it weren’t for Dave van den Burgh (not Juan Pablo Angel, though he did help at times) this club would not even be nearly close to this position. Too bad there are about five other really good MVP candidates this year because DvB would certainly be in the discussion.

Kansas City (36 pts.) – How many times have we seen this out of the Wizards. Making it come down to the final weeks of the season. Boy I would not want to be a Wizards fan because of that kind of drama. Sure it can be fun if you make it but heartbreaking if you don’t. Thing is they have to beat San Jose this weekend, they do that and they are fine. I think they have the softest schedule out of every left here. Two very winable games, but if they don’t I just don’t see how Curt Onaflo will keep his job this off-season.

FC Dallas (35 pts.) – A win at RSL and things are headed in the right direction. That would be 38 points for Schellas Hyndman’s bunch. A draw would pretty much mean they would be in a do-or-die situation in LA. I think the Galaxy will finally be eliminated this week so they could play spoiler but I am kind of hoping for the ladder of the two because a LA-Dallas game has produced some crazy results this year…usually resulting in a coaching change.

Colorado Rapids (34 pts.) – I think after this past weekend they are done. I’ve wrote them off before and they’ve bounced back but with two weeks left and two tough games I just don’t like their chances. They win the Chivas game they have some solid life going into the Mountain Cup rival game with RSL. That game could still send a club into the playoffs and send one to an early off-season. Or it even could send two clubs home for the year, who knows. I just think Colorado is actually finally done this season.

DC United (34 pts.) – United is backed into a corner against a very tough schedule. Two clubs that have practically owned them this season. Both are locked into a playoff spot but with all the injuries the chances have gone from solid to decent to very little in a matter of two or three weeks here. I think Tom Soehn has been spending more time brushing up the old resume here more than anything else.

LA Galaxy (32 pts.) – Got some new life without their main two punches of Donovan and Beckham. Should they win that Houston game they will be at 35 points, still not enough to actually be in. Then a win over Dallas would put them at 38 points. For the Galaxy to make it they need a lot of things to happen. And I mean a lot.

Toronto FC (32 pts.) – Two wins would put them at 38 points as well but just like the Galaxy they need more help than they will actually get. The draw to Dallas was tough, espeically with the way it ended but this club’s playoff chances went out when the Kenny Cooper PK was scored.

San Jose Earthquakes (30 pts.) – Three games left but they must win all three in my book to reach the playoffs. Two road games and a home game is a tough way to get nine points. Even at 39 points they may be locked into a tie with someone else and not make it on tiebreakers. Who knows.

A lot of soccer if left to be played here. Weird how 15 games can determine so much. Right now I see RSL, KC and Dallas reaching the playoffs. But really anything is possible at this point.


  • Oct 14 2008
Wow, informative. :-)
  • Oct 14 2008
Wow, informative. :-)