A 3-1 win over New York and a 1-1 tie with Toronto in its last two games raised the Crew's record to a league-best 14-6-5, and its 47 points guarantees it can finish no lower than eighth amongst the 14 MLS teams. Each team has five games remaining in the regular season, which concludes Oct. 26.
Columbus (12-5-13) won the Eastern Conference in 2004 but lost to New England in the first round of the playoffs and failed to qualify for the postseason in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
Here's the rundown on the 2008 playoff chase. The top three teams in each conference qualify automatically, and the seventh and eighth spots go to the teams finishing next highest on overall points. The teams are ranked in order of playoff priority, not points.
IN THE PLAYOFF ZONE
1. Columbus (East #1), 47 points
2. New England (East #2), 42
3. Houston (West #1), 39
4. Chicago (East #3), 38
5. Chivas USA (West #2) 32
6. Colorado (West #3), 31
7. New York (overall points), 35
8. D.C. United (overall points) 33.
Out of the playoffs at the moment
9. Kansas City, 32 points
10. Real Salt Lake, 31
11. FC Dallas, 30
12. Los Angeles, 29
13. San Jose, 29
14. Toronto FC, 27.
Because of tiebreakers, Colorado is ranked ahead of Real Salt Lake, and Los Angeles ahead of San Jose, although they are tied on points. The first three tiebreakers are; a) head-to-head results; b) goal difference; c) total goals scored.