Playoff scenarios: Week 25
Following last weekend's games, 10 of 12 MLS clubs are still fighting for the seven remaining spots in the 2005 MLS Cup Playoffs. With the San Jose Earthquakes already owning one of the four berths in the Western Conference and Chivas USA officially eliminated from contention following their 3-0 loss to the Quakes on Saturday, the upcoming weekend could determine other postseason berths [Complete standings].
The Eastern Conference-leading New England Revolution (51 points) could become the first Eastern team to lock up their place in an Eastern Conference Semifinal series with a win over the MetroStars (37 points) on Saturday night. Expect more shuffling of positions in the East in the coming weeks, as the MetroStars win on Saturday over Kansas City Wizards closed the gap between second and fourth place to only seven points.
In the West, three out of the four spots could be locked up following the games of Week 25. The Los Angeles Galaxy need only a win on Saturday night over Kansas City to reach the playoffs for the 10th consecutive season. The Galaxy would become the only club in MLS history to advance to the postseason in each of the League's 10 seasons. FC Dallas could earn their first playoff appearance in three years with a win over Real Salt Lake on Sunday afternoon in a game broadcast live on ESPN2 (2:00 p.m. ET).
With 19 points and seven games to play, Real Salt Lake will need to snap their current five-game losing streak or risk falling out of contention by the following week.
What follows are the scenarios in play ahead of weekend action on September 17:
New England Revolution can clinch a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs with:
(a) A win vs. the MetroStars
Los Angeles Galaxy can clinch a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs with:
(a) A win vs. the Kansas City Wizards
(b) Real Salt Lake loss vs. FC Dallas
(c) A tie vs. the Kansas City Wizards and a Real Salt Lake tie against FC Dallas
FC Dallas can clinch a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs with:
(a) A win vs. Real Salt Lake
2005 MLS CUP PLAYOFFS
At the end of the season four teams qualify from each conference and advance to the home-and-home, aggregate goal MLS Cup Conference Semifinals (No. 1 vs. No. 4 and No. 2 vs. No. 3). The two teams left standing in each conference will meet in the single-elimination Conference Championships with the winners advancing to MLS Cup 2005 at Pizza Hut Park on Nov. 13 (live on ABC Sports at 3:30 p.m. ET).
Tickets for MLS Cup 2005 are currently only available through a random computerized drawing on MLSnet.com or FCDallas.net. Tickets will be made available to the general public in the first week of October.