With less than a month left in the season, this is promising to be one of the more exciting run-ups the MLS has ever had. The new playoff format which allows wild card teams (teams that finish outside of the top two of their conference)to qualify based on their overall record rather than conference standings has made the table a complete jumble. As it stands now, this is the table and the playoff qualifiers:
As it stand now, five teams for the west and three from the east would see post-season action. If this was the final table, the playoff picture would look like this:
|Columbus vs Seattle|
|Chicago vs. New England|
|Houston vs. Chivas|
|Los Angeles vs. Colorado|
The battle for the Home Depot Center looks especially tasty in the West and Chicago’s trip to Seattle looks like one of the games of the year.
As Robert below points out, as the table now stands, Seattle would play Columbus. With Sigi Schmidt facing his old team, that would be a series to savor.
Of course, this table will almost certainly not be the final table. Chivas and New England have a pair of games in hand and the potential to make big strides up the table if they can convert them into wins. This weekend’s games will have huge playoff implications which will radically affect the table. This weekend’s lineup includes:
Chicago at Los Angeles
Chivas at DC United
Seattle at Columbus
New England at Colorado
Kansas City at Houston
For Chivas in particular, the run-in is particularly tricky. Although they have five games to go where as all the other playoff battlers have only three or four, they have to play those five games in 22 days. They travel to DC and Chicago and play Kansas City (without Bornstein or Kljestan who will be with the US team), San Jose and Houston at home. Chivas really blew a chance this past weekend to gain three vital points by drawing the lowly Red Bulls at home.
I’ll update this table every week through the end of the season.