(Editorial) – This weekend will see some major moves in the MLS Playoff picture. With spots up for grabs across both conferences, keeing track of the MLS Playoff clinch scenarios can get a little confusing.
This Weekend’s MLS Playoff Clinch Scenarios
With two matches left, three Eastern Conference teams are alredy secured of their spot in the post season. New York Red Bulls, New York City FC, and Toronto FC can rest easy, knowing full well they will play more than two more games this year. Three otherts have been eliminated from playoff contention. Also having slipped from relevancy are Columbus Crew, Orlando City, and Chicago Fire, who can already get started on their offseason plans.
Stuck in the middle are Montreal Impact, D.C. United, Philadelphia Union, and New England Revolution. Those four sides will clash for three remaining playoff spots over the next two Sundays, but it could all be over after this weekend.
Montreal Impact- Fourth place, 44 pts.
Montreal’s job to clinch their playoff spot is pretty simple. A win at home against Canadian rivals Toronto FC will secure them of a spot. If they draw against Toronto, New England would have to drop points against Chicago for Montreal to be safe. A loss would require a New England loss for next weekend to not matter.
D.C. United- Fifth place, 43 pts.
D.C. United is in a simlar place to Montreal. Their four point buffer means a win this weekend against New York City at RFK Stadium will put them in the playoffs. A draw would need the Revs to lose or draw Chicago. A United loss would mean a Revs loss will seal the deal in the nation’s capital.
Philadelphia Union- Sixth place, 42 points
The Union’s hot start to the season has gone away and now, they are stuck with the final playoff spot and a three point lead over the Revolution. Should they win this weekend at home against Orlando City, they will be in with a New England loss or draw. Any dropped points, be it as a draw or loss, would need New England to lose as well.
New England Revolution-Seventh place- 39 points
New England has the toughest uphill climb in the Eastern Conference. The Revs cannot clinch this weekend, only keep themselves alive. A win at Chicago would be enough to make next sunday matter. Anthing less would require Philadelphia Union to fall against Orlando to give the Revs any hope for the playoffs.
Much like the East, the Western Conference has four clubs fighting for three playoff spots. Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, and LA Galaxy are confirmed in the playoffs, while San Jose Earthquakes, Vancouver Whitecaps, and Houston Dynamo are all on their way home after next weekend. Seattle Sounders, Real Salt Lake, Sporting Kansas City, and Portland Timbers are still fighting for their lives.
Seattle Sounders- Fourth place, 45 points
The Sounders looked more or less dead just about a month ago. They had fired their long time coach and have seen Clint Dempsey go down for the season. The emergence of Jordan Morris and Nicolas Lodeiro coupled with the unexpected coaching prowess of Brian Schmetzer have given them new life. A vicotry over Supporters Shield contending FC Dallas this Sunday secures their once unlikely playoff spot. A loss or draw would require Portland to lose or draw against the Rapids to clinch this weekend.
Real Salt Lake- Fifth place, 45 pts.
Real Salt Lake has fallen down as the season has neared its conclusion. Their scenario is identical to Seattle’s: A win over Sporting Kansas City means they will not need to worry on the final day of the season. A loss or draw would mean a Portland loss or draw against Colorado will get the job done.
Sporting Kansas City- Sixth place, 43 pts.
Sporting Kansas City has a two point lead over Portland for the final playoff spot in the West. A win over fellow playoff contenders Real Salt Lake would keep them in that position, but it wouldn’t seal anything without the Timbers dropping points. If they lose or draw, there’s nothing that will clinch a spot this weekend.
Portland Timbers- Seventh place, 41 points
The defending champs have a lot of work to do. Not only do they need to get a win at home against the first place Colorado Rapids, but they would have to get some help from those above them. If they win, while SKC loses, they will be in sixth and control their own desitiny on Decision Day. A loss or draw doesn’t eliminate them as long as SKC loses or draws to Real Salt Lake.
So, there it is, every clinch scenario for this Sunday’s all you can eay buffet of MLS. While this weekend can make next weekend’s Decision Day mostly meaningless, it’s more likely that the MLS chaos will only get crazier after this weekend. All the Eastern Conference games kick off at 3:00 eastern time on Sunday with the Toronto-Montreal match featured on ESPN. The West clashes get started at 5:00 eastern with Portland-Colorado on ESPN. All the other matches can be seen with an MLS Live subscription or on local television