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MLS teams face different scenarios
by Ridge Mahoney, October 20th, 2009 7AM



[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] All three MLS participating teams can reach the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals, and all three encounter different situations in their final group games.

D.C. United is tied for second in Group B with nine points yet must not only win in Mexico Tuesday against Toluca (TV: 8 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel) but either must also match Honduran club Marathon's result at San Juan Jabloteh  in a match that doesn't take place until Thursday, or beat Toluca by enough goals to overturn a 3-1 deficit incurred when they played at RFK Stadium.

Winning is an extremely daunting task, since the city sits 8,750 feet above sea level in the Mexican ranges of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. United also has a critical league match at Kansas City Saturday that most likely will determine whether or not it qualifies for the playoffs.

The team traveled to Mexico without regulars Clyde Simms, Jaime Moreno, Marc Burch, Andrew Jacobsen and Ben Olsen. Luciano Emilio, whose goal at a rainy RFK on Saturday night preserved its MLS playoff hopes via a 1-0 victory, is in the traveling squad of 16.

Columbus will advance to the quarterfinals Tuesday if it gets at least a tie against the Puerto Rico Islanders (TV: 10 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel) in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, regardless of the other result in Group C. The Crew leads Saprissa by two points and holds the tiebreaker edge over the Costa Rican team that faces leader Cruz Azul, which has already clinched its quarterfinal spot.

"We proved we could handle so many games," said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha, who has rotated his players under a burden of MLS, Open Cup and Concacaf matches. It has lost two out of its last three in league play yet still leads the overall standings. "Now with a game every week it should be easier, but we still have to be focused and win some games. We can't rest. We'd like to win that game in Puerto Rico."

Houston, in third place in Group A, doesn't control its own destiny. It can catch Panamanian club Arabe Unido on points if Arabe loses away to group leader Pachuca and the Dynamo beats Isidro Metapan Wednesday (TV: 10 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel). It would thus edge into second place on the first tiebreaker, head-to-head  results: the Houston and Arabe Unido tied, 1-1, in Panama; the Dynamo romped, 5-1, in the rematch at Robertson Stadium.

But if Arabe Unido can get a point at Pachuca -- and it stunned los Tuzos, 4-1, in the group opener -- it would knock out Houston regardless.

Only three teams, all from Mexico, have clinched spots in the quarterfinals: Cruz Azul, UNAM, and Pachuca. The draw for the quarterfinals, which commence next February, will be held Nov. 17.

*Pachuca 5 4 0 1 13 4 12
Arabe Unido 5 3 1 1 13 7 10
Houston Dynamo 5 2 1 2 7 5
Metapan 5 0 0 5 0 17 0
Oct. 21 -- Pachuca vs. Arabe Unido
Oct. 21 -- Metapan vs. Houston Dynamo  

*Toluca 5 4 0 1 14 3 12
D.C. United 5 3 0 2 11 7  9
Marathon 5 3 0 2 8 12 9
Jabloteh 5 0 0 5 2 13  0
Oct. 20 -- Toluca vs. D.C. United
Oct. 22 -- Jabloteh vs. Marathon

*Cruz Azul 5 4 1 0 14 3 13
Columbus Crew 5 2 1 2 4 8 7
Saprissa 5 1 2 2 5 6 5
P.R. Islanders 5 0 2 3 5 11 2
Oct. 20 -- P.R. Islanders vs. Columbus Crew
Oct. 20 -- Cruz Azul vs. Saprissa

*UNAM 5 4 1 0 14 4 13
Comunicaciones 5 2 0 3 4 7 6
Real Espana 5 2 0 3 4 11  6
W Connection 5 1 1 3 7 7 4
Oct. 21 -- W Connection  vs. Real Espana 
Oct. 21 -- Comunicaciones vs. UNAM

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