Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Fire needs result ... or faces nervous weekend
by Ridge Mahoney, October 22nd, 2009 7:01AM



[MLS] You might think you have the MLS playoff mosaic sorted out, yet there's one piece that doesn't quite fit the standard procedure. Chicago holds second place in the Eastern Conference, and needs just a point Thursday in its final game to clinch that spot (TV: ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, 8 pm ET) and the home-field advantage in the conference semifinals that comes with it. If Chicago wins or ties, it finishes second in the East, end of story.

But if the Fire loses, a bevy of Eastern Conference teams will have a chance on the final weekend to tie it on points. Toronto FC, New England and D.C. United all have 39 points and if enough of them win their final games, they could not only match Chicago's 42 points but also knock it out of the playoffs entirely.

Here are Chicago's head-to-head records this season against those Eastern teams with which it could finish tied: Toronto (1-0-1), New England (0-0-2), and D.C. (0-2-1). (Dallas can also finish with 42 points but for purposes of the Eastern Conference No. 2 slot its results would not be considered).

Suppose Chicago loses and the other three Eastern teams win to create a logjam at 42 points. The four teams would then be evaluated via their head-to-head results against each other to decide the second-place team in the conference. If three teams are tied, results among those teams are calculated.

Since none of the tied teams play each other on the final weekend, these figures would not change. The teams are listed by cumulative record against the tied teams, number of points and points per game. The latter figure is used because Chicago and D.C. played three games instead of two against each other, creating an imbalance of games played amongst the tied teams.

1. Toronto FC (2-1-3, 9 points, 1.5 per game)
2. D.C. United (2-2-3, 9 pts., 1.3 per game)
3. New England (1-1-4, 7 pts., 1.2 per game)
4. Chicago (1-2-4, 7 pts., 1.0 per game)

Though Chicago would win a two-team tiebreaker against Toronto, TFC's record against the other two teams is better than that of the Fire. TFC would get the No. 2 spot, leaving the other three teams to be evaluated in the wild-card pot, which would also include Dallas if it beats Seattle Saturday to finish with 42 points.

A two-way tie between Chicago and New England would require the second tiebreaker, goal difference in all games, to separate them because they tied both of their regular-season meetings.

So how could the Fire's postseason be doused before it started? In a logjam at 42 points, it would lose a four-way Eastern Conference tiebreaker and the No. 2 slot to TFC, leaving just two more wild-card slots available. Colorado could take the No. 7 overall slot by winning at RSL Saturday to finish with 43 points, but even if doesn't, Chicago could lose out to two teams in tiebreakers and drop out of the top eight.

The Fire can avoid any anxiety by getting at least a tie Thursday. Otherwise, it will be a long, nervy weekend.

No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Daily
Video Pick: How Ronaldo gets treated by customs     
Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't seem to have a difficult time getting through customs, as demonstrated by this ...
NASL's Jacksonville banks on Tony Meola    
Hall of Fame goalkeeper Tony Meola, whose previous coaching experience since retiring as a player in ...
Video Pick: Messi proves he's fully recovered    
Lionel Messi, out of Barcelona's starting lineup for two months because of a knee injury, scored ...
Red Bulls' success nets Marsch Coach of the Year honors    
Inexperienced head coaches don't often flourish in MLS, yet in just his second season as a ...
TV Report: El Clasico draws 1.87 million BeIN Sports viewers    
The Real Madrid-Barcelona game on beIN Sports and beIN Sports en Espanol drew a combined television ...
What They're Saying: Rangers manager Mark Warburton    
"I have been delighted with his contribution and the last game he played for Rangers was ...
What They're Saying: Chinese sports commentator Huang Jianxiang    
"Evergrande's ability to succeed confirms that if the government gets out of Chinese soccer and gives ...
What They're Saying: Ethan Horvath    
"The way we've been playing in Europa League, maybe now a team doesn't want to draw ...
Bob Bradley leads Normandy landing    
It isn't every day that a former World Cup coach arrives to coach a Ligue 2 ...
Jill Ellis named 2015 NSCAA Honorary All-American    
Jill Ellis, head coach of the U.S. women's national team that won the 2015 Women's World ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives