- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On August 27, 2009
- 2 Comments
- Playoff Push 2009
Right now we have some hot MLS playoff races going on. Not only are there a few teams in the running for the league’s top regular season crown, the Supporter’s Shield, but there are still plenty of teams going for that 8th and final playoff spot.
With Real Salt Lake’s win last night it pushed them into the playoff discussion. Had they lost that game I think it would have been safe to say they’d be struggling to reach the playoff this year.
In year’s past 40 points is typically the go-to for reaching the playoffs. This year the bar might be raised a little higher as 10 of the 15 clubs have already reached the 30 point mark with seven or eight games to go. DC United would make 11 clubs as they are just a point shy of 30 points.
Right now I think it is safe to say that barring any major collapse that we’ve never seen before in league history we have four clubs that are pretty much safe in terms of qualifying for the playoffs this season. The Columbus Crew, the Chicago Fire, the Houston Dynamo and yes the LA Galaxy all seem safe to get into the playoff this season. LA may be a shock to some but I really don’t see a way for them to not reach the playoffs this year unless Landon Donovan and a couple other key players all went down right now with season ending injuries.
Saying those four are going to get in also means that there are four clubs that have no real shot right now at reaching the playoffs. New York has been all but announced by the league as eliminated from playoff contention since June. Joining the Red Bulls are the San Jose Earthquakes, the Kansas City Wizards and FC Dallas. Those three are still technically in the running but they’d all pretty much have to run the table at this point and let’s face it that won’t be happening anytime soon.
So that leaves us with four open spots with seven remaining sides going for those spots. Three clubs will be left wondering what went wrong and four will hope to use a late season push into the playoffs for a deep run to the MLS Cup.
Currently we have two clubs tied at 33 points (Seattle and Chivas USA), four clubs tied at 30 points (New England, Colorado, RSL, and Toronto), and DC just slightly behind at 29 points.
I’ve been over each club’s schedules before but I do have a quick thought on each club’s chances.
Chivas USA (33 points – tied with Seattle)
Chivas looked rather pathetic on the road last night in Salt Lake but then again who hasn’t looked bad at Rio Tinto Stadium this year. Thankfully the AmeriGoats still have games at hand on nearly everyone not named New England. With games left against at home against New York, Kansas City and San Jose we should find this club in the playoffs.
Colorado Rapids (30 points – tied with four other clubs)
The Rapids inconsistent play could doom their chances in the long run but they too have plenty of games in hand on everyone around them in the standings. They have two games against Toronto coming up along with two against San Jose and one against Kansas City. Based on what they have in September with those three clubs in five games (play Toronto and SJ twice) they very well should get at least 10 points, if not more.
DC United (29 points – currently out of top 8)
DC has a tough run going on right now. They looked good to be in the playoffs two months ago but that was before their season schedule got jam packed with Open Cup games, CCL games and friendlies on top of their MLS schedule. Based on play last night I think it could be safe to almost include them in the bottom group of clubs not making the playoffs this year. Tom Soehn may also be looking at a pink slip very soon too.
New England Revolution (30 points, tied with four other clubs)
The Revs still have plenty of games at hand and they are starting to play good soccer for a change. They have upcoming games against both San Jose and Kansas City, plus a trip to New York should help their ranking in the standings out. Also they get a game with Dallas and a visit by Seattle which could do well for them. October will still be rough with two games against Columbus and one against Chicago.
Real Salt Lake (30 points, tied with four other clubs)
Real helped their chances out in a big way last night getting a 4-0 win over Chivas. Their goal differential looks good but it’s helped out by that game and the 6-0 beating over New England earlier this year. I still have worries over this club on the road and four of their final seven are on the road. Also, their home stretch isn’t easy with visits from Chicago (best road team in the league) and their rivals Colorado. They have to pick up points in Dallas and KC if they want to reach the post season for a second straight year.
Seattle Sounders FC (33 points, tied with Chivas)
The Sounders are still in a good spot to be the first expansion club since Chicago reach the post season. Their road play has to improve though. With big trips east to DC, New England and Columbus on the way the Sounders will be in a fight. They must pick up wins in their remaining home games to feel safer about their playoff hopes. Good thing both Dallas and Toronto are on the menu to visit Qwest.
Toronto FC (30 points, tied with four other clubs)
The Reds playoff chances are a roller coaster ride that has been kind of scary to watch, one you can’t take your eye off for a season though. They too have to pick up maximum points at home but thankfully for them they get San Jose, RSL, and Colorado at home, all road teams with issues. Their road schedule looks rough but with games in New York and Chicago they could get points.