Wednesday's 1-0 victory by the Columbus Crew over the Chicago Fire sealed the No. 1 seed in the East for Columbus and heightened suspense for the fourth and final postseason berth in the conference between the Fire and New England Revolution which will go down to the final weekend of the season. In the meantime, D.C. United became the third team to clinch an MLS Cup Playoff berth in the Eastern Conference by virtue of the Fire's midweek loss (Check the latest MLS regular season standings).
The Fire's setback on Wednesday (33pts and one game remaining) gave new hope to the Revolution (30pts and two games remaining). And even a loss for New England against D.C. United would still leave Steve Nicol's team in position to clinch the fourth and final playoff spot in the East with a win in the final weekend of the season at home against Chicago. The season series between the two clubs is tied at 1-1-1 going into that final regular season match.
In the Western Conference the final MLS Cup Playoff berth is up for grabs between the defending MLS Cup champion San Jose Earthquakes and the Dallas Burn. A combination of results next Saturday, Oct. 9 could render meaningless their direct matchup scheduled for the last game of the season. At the top of the Western Conference, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champion Kansas City Wizards are one step away from clinching the No. 1 seed which would mean that the road to MLS Cup 2004 would go through Arrowhead Stadium in a Conference Championship featuring the Wizards.
What follows are the scenarios in play ahead of the upcoming round of matches:
MetroStars clinch No. 2 seed in Eastern Conference with:
(a) win vs. Columbus Crew + D.C. United loss or tie
(b) tie vs. Columbus Crew + D.C. United loss
Kansas City Wizards clinch No. 1 seed in Western Conference with:
(a) win vs. San Jose Earthquakes
(b) Los Angeles Galaxy loss or tie
San Jose Earthquakes clinch an MLS Cup Playoff spot with:
(a) win vs. Kansas City Wizards + Dallas Burn loss
Dallas Burn eliminated from MLS Cup Playoff contention with:
(a) loss vs. Los Angeles Galaxy + San Jose Earthquakes win
At the end of the regular 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 a Conference Championship with the winners of each advancing to MLS Cup 2004 at The Home Depot Center on Nov. 14 (live on ABC Sports at 3:30 p.m. ET).
Individual tickets are now available for MLS Cup 2004, which will be broadcast live on ABC Sports at 3:30 pm (ET) on Sunday, Nov. 14, at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Individual ticket prices are as follows: $55 (sidelines), $40 (corners), $32 (upper deck) and $28 (goal line). For more information or group sales, contact the Los Angeles Galaxy toll-free at 1-877-3GALAXY or visit www.lagalaxy.com. To purchase tickets today, visit Ticketmaster or call at 1-800-366-8652.