MLS Playoff Race: Aug. 24

Timbers fans rue the teams struggles in front of goal, in midfield, at goalie, in defense and on the sideline.

This week: Wins for Kansas City and New York kept them neck and neck in the race for first in the East. DC United finally found some form in routing Chicago, which temporarily puts them 4 points ahead of Montreal and 7 ahead of Columbus going into this weekend. In the West, losses for San Jose and Real Salt Lake allowed Seattle to pull a little closer, though they’re still 7 points behind the Quakes. Meanwhile, Dallas continues to surge, and if they can navigate a road match at the Galaxy this weekend with a win or draw, they might be able to edge out the Whitecaps and get in the playoffs.

Coming up: Kansas City hosts the Red Bulls in the battle for first in the East. DC United visits Montreal in the battle for fifth. With two matches yet to go in New York, KC will hope to get a full three points here. United have been poor on the road, but a win for them should all but sew up a playoff spot. In LA, the Galaxy host Dallas. A win for the defending champs would put them 8 points ahead with home matches against Vancouver, Colorado and Toronto coming up.

East

1. Sporting Kansas City (14-4-7, 46 pts). This week: Beat Toronto 1-0. No matter whether they finish first in the East (or overall), Kansas City looks like they will be a very dangerous team come playoff time. Could they do the double? Matches left: NY, TOR, HOU, @NY, @MON, CHI, @CLB, @NY, PHI

2. New York (13-5-7, 44 pts). This week: Beat Portland 3-2. It’s hard to have faith in a Red Bull team that can’t defend to save their lives, but they sure can score goals. Matches left: @SKC, @DCU, CLB, SKC, @NE, TOR, CHI, SKC, @PHI

3. Houston (11-8-6, 41 pts). This week: Drew 2-2 with Columbus. The Dynamo have yet to lose at home. With five more matches in Houston, the question is, can they pick up enough points on the road to finish atop the East? Matches left: TOR, @CHI, RSL, @SKC, @PHI, NE, MON, PHI, @COL

4. Chicago (12-5-8, 41 pts).  This week: Lost to DC United 4-2; Beat New England 2-1. The loss at DC was disappointing, but with five of their last 9 at home, the Fire should be a playoff team. Matches left: HOU, @TOR, MON, CLB, @SKC, PHI, @NY, @NE, DCU

5. DC United (12-4-8, 40 pts). This week: Beat Chicago 4-2; Drew 1-1 with Philadelphia. DC finally played a complete match in beating Chicago. Can they hold off the threat of Montreal and Columbus? Matches left: @MON, NY, @RSL, NE, @PHI, CHV, @POR, @TOR, CLB, @CHI

6. Montreal (11-3-13, 36 pts).  This week: Beat San Jose 3-1. Having played three more matches than DC, it remains to be seen whether the Impact have enough left in the tank to catch them, particularly with four matches on the road. But at least they’re making them sweat. Matches left: DCU, @CLB, @CHI, SKC, @HOU, @TOR, NE

7. Columbus (9-6-8, 33 pts). This week: Beat Toronto 2-1; Drew 2-2 with Houston; Drew 1-1 with LA Galaxy. The Crew are about as average as a team can be, but given that 53 percent of teams make the playoffs, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Frederico Higuain looks like a great signing, by the way. Matches left: NE, @PHI, MON, @NE, @NY, CHV, @CHI, PHI, SKC, @DCU, TOR

8. Philadelphia (7-3-12, 24 pts). This week: Drew 1-1 with DC United. Now 16 points out of the final playoff spot, I think it’s time for the Union to start building toward next season. Matches left: RSL, CLB, @NE, @TOR, DCU, HOU, @CLB, @CHI, NE, @HOU, @SKC, NY

9. New England (6-5-13, 23 pts). This week: Lost to Chicago 2-1. Only Toronto and Portland’s battle of ineptitude is currently keeping the Revs out of last place in the league. They could be a playoff team next year – if they don’t change things too much. Except for bringing in a good defender. Carlos Bocanegra maybe? Matches left: @CLB, CHV, PHI, CLB, @DCU, NY, @HOU, @PHI, CHI, @MON

10. Toronto (5-5-15, 20 pts). This week: Lost to Columbus 2-1; Lost to Kansas City 1-0; Drew 2-2 with Portland. I feel like I say this every week, but enjoy the Champions League again, Toronto fans. Matches left: @HOU, @SKC, CHI, PHI, @LAG, @NY, DCU, MON, @CLB

West

1. San Jose (14-5-6, 47 pts). This week: Lost to Montreal 3-1. One loss doesn’t make a crisis, particularly since the Quakes have four matches coming up against non-playoff teams and they’ve already crossed my imaginary “enough points to get in” threshold. Matches left: COL, CHV, @CHV, POR, @SEA, DAL, @COL, LAG, @POR

2. Real Salt Lake (13-3-10, 42 pts). This week: Lost to Dallas 2-1. It’s conceivable that RSL could finish as low as fourth. All in all, it’s been a disappointing season, but they still should be a danger come playoff time. Matches left: @PHI, DCU, @HOU, POR, @CHV, @LAG, @SEA, VAN

3. Seattle (11-7-6, 40 pts). This week: Beat Vancouver 2-0. The Sounders have a somewhat reasonable schedule left, so if Fredy Montero can put on his usual late-season flurry, they might threaten San Jose for first. Maybe. Matches left: @CHV, @DAL, CHV, @POR, SJE, @VAN, POR, RSL, DAL, @LAG

4. LA Galaxy (11-4-11, 37 pts). This week: Drew 1-1 with Columbus. They still need a few more wins to secure a playoff spot, but the Galaxy are playing like arguably the best team in the West, as much as I hate to say that. Matches left: DAL, VAN, COL, TOR, @COL, RSL, @SJE, SEA

5. Vancouver (10-7-9, 37 pts). This week: Lost 2-0 to Seattle; Lost 2-0 to Dallas. An unexpected home loss to Dallas now leaves the Caps with three straight difficult away matches, including a trip to Dallas, who could very well leapfrog them into the playoffs in that match. Matches left: @POR, @LAG, @DAL, COL, SEA, CHV, POR, @RSL

6. Dallas (8-8-11, 32 pts). This week: Beat Real Salt Lake 2-1; Beat Vancouver 2-0. Now almost back in the playoff race, Dallas are left to wonder where they’d be if Blas Perez hadn’t spent much of the season injured. Or if they hadn’t been so terrible early on. Matches left: @LAG, SEA, VAN, @SJE, @CHV, @SEA, CHV

7. Chivas USA (7-6-9, 27 pts). This week: Drew 1-1 with Colorado. What’s left unsaid in the “Oh, Dallas are playing great!” talk is that Chivas are only five points behind with FIVE matches in hand. Unfortunately, they have yet to string together enough solid play to really worry anyone. Matches left: SEA, @NE, @SJE, @SEA, SJE, @CLB, @DCU, RSL, @VAN, DAL, COL, @DAL

8. Colorado (8-2-15, 26 pts). This week: Drew 1-1 with Chivas USA. The Rapids have nine matches left in Operation Save Oscar Pareja’s job. Matches left: CHV, @SJE, @POR, POR, @LAG, @VAN, LAG, SJE, @CHV, HOU

9. Portland (5-6-13, 21 pts). This week: Lost 3-2 to New York; Drew 2-2 with Toronto. Thinking optimistically, the Timbers have five home matches left, so should be able to pick up 10 points there. Maybe. Well, maybe that’s being too optimistic. Matches left: VAN, COL, @COL, SEA, @SJE, @RSL, DCU, @SEA, @VAN, SJE

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Posted on 2012/08/24, in America's game, Major League Soccer, Rankings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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