With their 2-0 victory over Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night, the Colorado Rapids put themselves in position to become the fourth team to clinch their spot in the 2005 MLS Cup Playoffs. A number of combinations over the weekend can secure their entry, which would join them with San Jose, FC Dallas, and Los Angeles as the four participants in the Western Conference Semifinals Series. Click here for the complete standings: http://www.mlsnet.com/MLS/standings/.
The Eastern Conference teams continue to fight for positioning, and this weekend could either secure the first entry in the Eastern Conference Semifinal or potentially bring five teams to within nine points with only 3-4 games left for all. A late goal by New England's Taylor Twellman gave the Revs a 1-1 tie in Columbus on Wednesday, keeping the Crew a distant 12 points from the last playoff spot with only five games to play.
San Jose has the chance to claim the top seed in the West when they host FC Dallas on Saturday, knowing that a tie or win would do it. San Jose has not lost at home all year, and their current 16-game home undefeated streak is one off the all-time mark set by the Galaxy between the 2004-2005 seasons. The Rapids need a tie or win, or an RSL tie or loss to qualify.
The Revs face the Metros on Saturday at Gillette Stadium in a rematch of last week's thriller in Giants Stadium, where the Metros took the three points with a 5-4 win. A Revs win gives them the first automatic place in the East, however a win by the Metros would temporarily tie them with Kansas City for the fourth playoff spot. The Wizards visit the Galaxy on Sunday, and could leap the idle Fire with a win - while keeping the chasing Metros at a distance.
What follows are the scenarios in play ahead of weekend action on September 21:
San Jose Earthquakes could clinch the Western Conference #1 seed:
(a) A win or tie vs. FC Dallas
Colorado Rapids can clinch a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs with:
(a) A win or tie vs. Chivas USA
(b) An RSL loss or tie vs. the Columbus Crew
New England Revolution can clinch a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs with:
(a) A win vs. the MetroStars
Columbus Crew can be eliminated from the MLS Cup Playoffs with:
(a) A loss vs. RSL AND with a MetroStars win vs. New England
(b) A loss vs. RSL AND a Kansas City tie or win vs. Los Angeles.
(c) A tie vs. RSL AND a Kansas City win vs. Los Angeles.
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.