Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Fire, D.C. United need wins to stoke playoff hopes
by Ridge Mahoney, October 10th, 2011 11:30PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS PLAYOFF WATCH] Three of the four teams playing league games Wednesday are in the playoff picture, but two are in dire straits. Chicago hopes to keep its faint hopes alive when it hosts FC Dallas, which occupies a wild-card slot, and D.C. United’s slim chances hinge on a crucial game at Vancouver.

The much-mocked, yet-to-be-tested, revamped MLS playoff system has seven slots available heading into the penultimate week of play.

So tight are the Eastern Conference groupings that six teams are in contention for those three automatic slots, and a total of 10 teams still have a shot at a wild card. Vancouver’s 3-0 defeat of Seattle last Saturday clinched the Supporters’ Shield for Los Angeles, which in the revamped system will play the lowest-seeded team to emerge from two wild-card games to be played Oct. 26 and 27.

Both games Wednesday match teams from different conferences. Chicago plays FC Dallas (8:30 p.m. ET) at Pizza Hut Park and Vancouver welcomes D.C. United (10 p.m.) to its third match at the renovated B.C. Place.

BRIMSTONE CUP NOT SO HOT. Before a few MLS teams came to their senses and dropped their original nicknames, a Chicago-Dallas game entailed a torrid Fire-Burn encounter.

This meeting doesn’t need an inflammatory moniker; Chicago’s hopes will be all but extinguished if it loses, and though FCD’s postseason slot is very close to assured, it has lost four league games in a row without scoring a goal, and in its last Concacaf Champions League match suffered a 5-3 hammering by Tauro FC.

FCD coach Schellas Hyndman gave his players four days off after it lost its last league match, 1-0, to Colorado Oct. 1. “We hope that they can just relax, spend time with their family, get away from soccer, and get their energy back -- that’s why we’re giving them the time off,” said Hyndman.

“This time off will give some the opportunity to get their legs back and recover a little bit from their injuries.”

The Fire is also rested; it hasn’t played since losing to Seattle, 2-0, last Tuesday in the U.S. Open Cup final despite carrying much of the play. It is riding a four-game league winning streak at Toyota Park, but if it can’t reel off three more victories to close out the season, it will fall short of the playoffs.

D.C. IN DIRE STRAITS. It has lost its last two matches, and none of its remaining games can be classified as easy, so if D.C. United is to make the playoffs, it needs at least a point in each of its last four games and most likely needs to win two of them as well.

On paper, a game against the bottom-dwelling Whitecaps -- even in their new facility, B.C. Place -- might be deemed a prime opportunity for United to claim three points. But its attack hasn’t adjusted to the loss of Chris Pontius, and a spirited bunch of ‘Caps exploited Kyle Beckerman’s red card to thrash RSL, 3-0, on Thursday. David Chiumiento, in many games this season Vancouver’s most dangerous offensive weapon, didn’t play against RSL.

United won the first meeting, 4-0, at RFK in August and the return leg is its last road game of the season. In its 2-1 loss at Columbus last Wednesday, Daniel Woolardentered club lore by scoring with a header from a Dwayne De Rosario corner kick and then equalizing for the Crew by steering a ricochet into his own net.

De Ro is scheduled to play for Canada Tuesday against Puerto Rico at BMO Field and could only play by crossing three time zones the next day.

PLAYOFF SNAPSHOT. With a full slate of games set for the weekend, starting Friday when Rocky Mountain Cup rivals Real Salt Lake and Colorado tangle at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, here’s how the playoff picture looks (teams marked with an asterisk* have clinched a playoff spot, the Galaxy has clinched the Supporters’ Shield as the team with the best regular-season record):

WESTERN CONFERENCE (three automatic slots):
W1 – Los Angeles*, 61 pts.; W2 –Seattle*, 57 pts.; W3 – Real Salt Lake*, 51 pts. All three teams have two more games.

EASTERN CONFERENCE (three slots):

E1 – Philadelphia, 47 pts.; E2 – Sporting Kansas City, 45 pts.;E3 --Columbus, 44 pts. All three teams have two more games.

WILD-CARDS (next four teams based on points):
WC7 – FC Dallas, 46 pts.; WC8 – Colorado, 45 pts.; WC9 – New York, 43 pts.; WC10 – Houston, 43 pts. All teams have two more games except FCD, which has three.

CHASERS (games remaining in parentheses):
11 – Portland, 40 pts. (3); 12 – D.C. United, 38 pts. (4); 13 -- Chicago, 37 pts. (3).

ELIMINATED:
14 –Chivas USA, 36 pts.; 15 – San Jose, 35 pts.; 16 – Toronto, 31 pts.; 17 – New England, 27 pts.; 18 – Vancouver, 25 pts.

PLAYOFF SCHEDULE:

Oct. 26-27 – Wild-card games, No. 10 at No. 7, No. 9 at No. 8. Oct. 29-30: Conference semifinals, first legs. Nov. 2-3: Conference semifinals, second legs. Nov. 12-13 – Conference finals. Nov. 20 – MLS Cup at Home Depot Center, 9 p.m. ET.



No comments yet.

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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Jim Curtin    
"Jesse was upset with the referees, obviously. Maybe lost his temper a bit, but I've seen ...
Video Pick: Stephen Colbert on Iceland over England    
On the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the host opened his monologue with a recap of ...
What They're Saying: Paris dog owner Lindsey Kent    
"Oliver is happy to mingle with people if they're friendly. But he feels a little scared ...
NASL: More rebuilding by Miami FC -- Kwadwo Poku    
Miami FC, the NASL expansion club that finished last in the Spring Season, continued its spending ...
MLS Countdown: Birnbaum back for long road slog    
A four-game road trip starts Friday for D.C. United and the return of defender Steve Birnbaum ...
MLS Moves: Fire and Gilberto part ways    
The bizarre saga of Gilberto in MLS has come to an end, and a rare Friday ...
U.S. Open Cup: PC effort triggers Strikers' upset win    
The NASL Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, who had never beaten an MLS team going back to their ...
MLS Countdown: Injury bug bites Irwin again, Bono in goal    
Forced out of game against Orlando City last weekend, Toronto FC goalkeeper Clint Irwin will miss ...
What They're Saying: Landon Donovan    
"I realized quickly I'm not a naturally energetic, outgoing, outspoken kind of person. I have pretty ...
MLS Countdown: Howard anxious for Rapids debut    
By some divine convergence, one of the best players to ever pull on a USA jersey ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives