The Red Line Report: Taking stock of the MLS playoff races heading into Heineken Rivalry Week

Another weekend of MLS action threw up some surprising results, none more so than the San Jose Earthquakes win over D.C. United.

The victory pulled them level with the Seattle Sounders for the final playoff spot in the West. However, they still fall below the red line as they have one less win than the Sounders. Total wins are the first tiebreaker for playoff positioning followed by goal differential and goals for.

The good news for the Quakes is that they have a game in hand on their rivals from Cascadia and seven of their remaining nine games at home, giving them ample opportunity to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

Does your team sit above or below the red line? Check out the current standings and below you can see how the playoffs would look if the season ended on Tuesday. Be sure to check out the new playoff rules for the 2015 season.

EASTERN CONFERENCE (seeds in parentheses)

Byes to Conference Semifinals:

(1) D.C. United, (2) New York Red Bulls

Conference Knockout Games:

(3) Columbus Crew SC vs. (6) Montreal Impact

(4) Toronto FC vs. (5) New England Revolution

WESTERN CONFERENCE (seeds in parentheses)

Byes to Conference Semifinals:

(1) LA Galaxy, (2) Vancouver Whitecaps

Conference Knockout Games:

(3) Sporting Kansas City vs. (6) Seattle Sounders

(4) Portland Timbers vs. (5) FC Dallas

But of course the season does not end on Tuesday. It's going to be tough to predict exactly who will end up in the playoffs with both races so close, but you can start by looking at the table below. It includes how many games each team has remaining, their complete remaining schedule, and the difficulty of their remaining schedule.

The strength of schedule metric takes into account the average points per game each team's oppponents get at home and on the road. The lower the points per game and lower the rank, the easier the schedule.

Road to the Playoffs
Team Games Remaining Strength of Schedule (total rank)
Eastern Conference
D.C. United 7 (@NY, @COL, CLB, @MTL, NYC, CHI, @CLB) 1.28 (6)
New York Red Bulls 11 (@CHI, DC, CHI, @NE, @POR, ORL, CLB, MTL, @TOR, PHI, @CHI) 1.18 (3)
Columbus Crew SC 8 (@NYC, DAL, @PHI, @DC, POR, @NY, @TOR, DC) 1.49 (T-16)
Toronto FC 10 (MTL, @SEA, NE, @NYC, COL, CHI, PHI, NY, CLB, @MTL) 1.07 (1)
New England Revolution 8 (@PHI, ORL, @TOR, NY, @MTL, PHI, @CHI, MTL, @NYC) 1.24 (5)
Montreal Impact 12 (@TOR, CHI, @LA, @SJ, NE, CHI, DC, @ORL, @NY, @COL, @NE, TOR) 1.35 (9)
New York City FC 8 (CLB, @DAL, TOR, SJ, @VAN, @DC, @ORL, NE) 1.38 (T-11)
Orlando City SC 8 (CHI, @NE, SKC, @CHI, @NY, MTL, NYC, @PHI) 1.23 (4)
Philadelphia Union 8 (NE, @SJ, CLB, HOU, @NE, @TOR, @NY, ORL) 1.38 (T-11)
Chicago Fire 10 (NY, @ORL, @MTL, @NY, ORL, @MTL, @TOR, NE, @DC, NY) 1.50 (18)
Western Conference
LA Galaxy (@SJ, MTL, @RSL, DAL, @SEA, POR, @SKC) 1.49 (T-16)
Vancouver Whitecaps (@HOU, COL, SEA, NYC, @SJ, DAL, @DAL, HOU) 1.30 (7)
Sporting Kansas City 10 (@COL, @POR, @ORL, DAL, @HOU, SEA, @POR, @SJ, COL, LA) 1.37 (10)
Portland Timbers (@SEA, SKC, NY, @CLB, SKC, @RSL, @LA, COL)  1.60 (20)
FC Dallas 10 (RSL, @CLB, NYC, @SKC, @LA, HOU, @VAN, VAN, @RSL, SJ) 1.54 (19)
Seattle Sounders (POR, TOR, @SJ, @VAN, @SKC, LA, @HOU, RSL) 1.40 (13)
San Jose Earthquakes (LA, PHI, SEA, MTL, @NYC, RSL, VAN, SKC, @DAL) 1.10 (2)
Houston Dynamo (@COL, VAN, RSL, @PHI, SKC, COL, @DAL, SEA, @VAN) 1.31 (8)
Real Salt Lake (@DAL, @HOU, LA, @SJ, @COL, POR, DAL, @SEA) 1.46 (15)
Colorado Rapids 10 (HOU, SKC, @VAN, DC, @TOR, @HOU, RSL, MTL, @SKC, @POR) 1.41 (14)

Do you think your team will make the playoffs? Let us know why in the comments below.

Series: 

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