MLS Weekend Preview: Week 32

MLS Weekend Preview: Week 32

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On October 23, 2009
  • 1 Comments
  • 2009 Week 32, Playoff Push 2009, Weekend Previews
Toronto FC needs another win to get into the playoffs for the first time. (Getty Images)

Toronto FC needs another win to get into the playoffs for the first time. (Getty Images)

It all comes down to one final weekend in Major League Soccer. I don’t believe the league front office could have even dreamed up this kind of weekend that puts a lot of meaning on the regular season as a whole. Six clubs remain in contention for two playoff spots after Chicago clinched their birth (finally) into the playoffs last night with a win over Chivas. The win also gave the Columbus Crew their second straight Supporter’s Shield trophy.

Before we break down the games we need to break down some key playoff scenarios (below is from the league’s front office) that will come into effect after this weekend. I’ll go team-by-team here. Colorado is sitting the prettiest with 40 points right now while four others sit at 39 points and Real Salt Lake at 37 points.

Colorado Rapids will qualify IF:
Colorado defeats Real Salt Lake on Saturday OR
Colorado ties Real Salt Lake AND
The four teams with 39 points all lose or all tie OR IF
Only one of TFC, NE, DC and FCD win

Note: If Colorado loses to Real Salt Lake, it hopes to do so by less than a two-goal margin and it hopes that less than two teams with 39 points win this week.

Real Salt Lake will qualify IF:
Real Salt Lake need to defeat Colorado on Saturday and hope that no more than one of the teams on 39 points wins. Unless all four teams with 39 points lose, RSL need to defeat Colorado by more than a one-goal margin because a win leaves them tied on points and in head-to-head (1-1-1), so goal differential could decide their fate.

If two or more teams tied on 39 points win, or if two or more tie on 40 points along with RSL (in the case of an RSLwin), there are some concurrent results that will favor them based on tiebreakers. This is a brief overview of what will help each team:

DC United will qualify IF
If DC is the only team tied on 39 points to win, they will qualify
If DC wins and Colorado wins AND New England OR Toronto win, they cannot qualify (unless DAL, DC AND TOR win – decided by goal differential)
In the case of a tie on 40 points (RSL win, DC tie), DC will qualify ONLY if FC Dallas AND DC tie, or if DAL AND DC AND TOR tie

Note: Needless to say DC has a lot of things that need to happen.

FC Dallas will qualify IF:
If FC Dallas is the only team tied on 39 points to win, they will qualify
If FC Dallas wins and Colorado wins, FC Dallas must hope that DC or New England do not win, as this lessens their chances
In the case of a tie on 40 points (RSL win, DAL tie), FC Dallas must hope that DC does not also tie

Note: It’s simple for Dallas win and hope for the best. That’s all they’ve done recently and it’s worked for them.

New England Revolution qualify IF:
If New England is the only team tied on 39 points to win, they will qualify
If New England wins and Colorado wins, New England must hope that Toronto does not also win (unless ONLY DAL and NE win)
If New England wins and Colorado loses or ties, the ONLY way New England will NOT qualify is if DAL AND NE AND TOR (ONLY) WIN
In the case of a multiple tie on 40 points (RSL win, NE tie), New England must hope DC ALSO ties or TOR does not tie (unless all four on 39 tie)

Toronto FC will qualify IF:
If Toronto is the only team tied on 39 points to win, they will qualify
If Toronto wins and Colorado wins, TOR must hope FC Dallas does NOT win – unless ALL four teams on 39 points win (DAL AND DC AND NE AND TOR)
If Toronto wins and Colorado loses or ties, Toronto is all but assured of qualifying
In the case of a multiple tie on 40 points (RSL win, TOR tie), TOR is all but assured of qualifying UNLESS DAL, NE AND TOR all tie

Note: Toronto may have the best shot at things since they currently own tiebreakers with those surrounding them. Just win and they will be fine.

Get all that? Okay, time to get to the previews for the weekend. As always feel free to post your predictions below.

Saturday:

Toronto FC – at – New York Red Bulls:

The end of an era if you wanna call that for the Metro/Red Bulls at Giants Stadium. Final game in the dump really and you have to wonder if this Red Bulls group really has anything left in the tank after seeing how this season has sucked the life out of these guys. Toronto is looking to match the playoffs for the first time in club history and the fact that they get this New York squad almost seems too easy, even for them. New York does pose some speed issues for Toronto on the wings but I doubt in the end it will really matter. I could see Toronto slip up here and lose this one but I think having key veterans like Dwayne De Rosario really help them out in moments like this. TFC wins and moves into the playoffs.

WVH Prediction: Toronto 2, New York 1

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DC United – at – Kansas City Wizards:

This should be a situation that DC fans would hope for going into the final week of the season. Playing a club that they can beat, even on the road. But this United team hasn’t been exactly what United fans had hoped for here this season. DC will lean heavily on Ben Olsen, Christian Gomez and Jamie Moreno to lead this group back to the playoffs. The thing is I worry this venue in KC is just not one that will help this DC team out. KC is also a team that has seen plenty of success at home against this DC club over the last couple years, especially at the CAB. DC needs to return to their gritty ways from earlier this season and get a late goal to help win the game but something tells me this one won’t get that way as KC will keep them on level terms.

WVH Prediction: Kansas City 1, DC 1

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It's time for Conor Casey and Pablo Mastroeni to step up. (Getty Images)

It's time for Conor Casey and Pablo Mastroeni to step up. (Getty Images)

Colorado Rapids – at – Real Salt Lake:

I said weeks, no, months ago that this game would decide who out of these two would move on to the playoffs and who would stay at home this winter. The Rapids haven’t looked nearly the same lately and that really could smell doom for them on the road against their Rocky Mountain Cup rivals. Real will more than likely make things complicated with all the tiebreakers above but I think in the end they do nothing more than ending their rival’s season yet again this year. Colorado hasn’t had a big game from Conor Casey or Omar Cummings in weeks and I just don’t see it those two cashing in on this one. Real will win this one but I just don’t see it doubling in the form as a playoff birth. Way too many ifs need to happen for them to make the post season.

WVH Prediction: Real Salt Lake 1, Colorado 0

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FC Dallas – at – Seattle Sounders FC:

It’s simple for Dallas win and get a little help and all things lead towards an extra couple games. And if it happens you gotta believe Columbus, the club that will get the eighth seed (which would be Dallas if they made it), sees Dallas make the playoffs they will hate that match up. Lucky for the Crew Dallas has to head to one of the toughest venues in all of MLS, Qwest Field. As good as Dallas has been over the last couple weeks I just have trouble seeing them play well enough to get another win on the road at Qwest. Thankfully as well for the Crew and others in the East, Seattle still has plenty to play for even though they clinched a playoff spot last week. They could still get home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs and that would be huge for the expansion Sounders. I think Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Tyrone Marshall keep David Ferreira and Jeff Cunningham in check enough to score a big win going into the playoffs. Dallas had a nice run but I see it ending here.

WVH Prediction: Seattle 2, Dallas 1

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San Jose Earthquakes – at – LA Galaxy:

Nothing like closing out the season against your in-state rivals. All LA needs to do is win and they secure home field throughout the western conference in the playoffs. The thing is the pesky Quakes have given loads of teams trouble has of late and have done well at the Home Depot Center. Just last week they took Chivas USA to a 2-2 draw. I see the Quakes leaning on Ryan Johnson to get them some points in the season finale but LA will be too strong with Landon Donovan and company gunning for the win. I like LA to win this one but not easily.

WVH Prediction: LA 2, San Jose 0

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Sunday:

Houston Dynamo – at – Chivas USA:

Chivas didn’t look all that great after the first ten minutes last night in Chicago. Defensively they held on strong but offensively lacked a big punch. They’ll need to find some sort of offensive punch against one of the leagues best defenses if they want to secure an automatic bid into the playoffs. Lucky for Chivas the Dynamo come into this game with loads of issues with discipline. I look for Chivas to take advantage of Houston’s issues with a win on Sunday. I just wonder how much each club will go for the result after Saturday’s results.

WVH Prediction: Chivas 1, Houston 0

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New England Revolution – at – Columbus Crew:

One thing the Revs can lean on here is the Crew won’t be going all out for the Supporter’s Shield trophy now that the Fire knocked Chivas out of the running for it. Tough part is the injuries have killed this New England side and they haven’t scored in a couple games and have won once in their last eight games. Not the best time to play the Crew by any means, especially on the road. Columbus will more than likely post a line-up of reserves on Sunday but they still have some of the best reserves in the league. With all the scoring issues the Revs have on the road (and at home for that matter) it is still hard to go against the Crew.

WVH Prediction: Columbus 1, New England 0

  • Flashman

    Based on your predicted results for the weekend you have TFC moving into the 7th playoff spot, leaving COL, RSL and DCU tied on 40 points. Applying the head-to-head-to-head tiebreaker, I think that measn RSL gets the 8th and final spot. BTW, how does the 3-way tie-breaker work if 2 of the teams played each other 3 times, and hence they have 5 games, and the other team only played each opponent twice, for 4 games played? Is it actually resolved on a PPG average?