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What's ahead in MLS playoff race
October 9th, 2012 10:28PM

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[MLS SPOTLIGHT] MLS is off for seven days before play resumes with a single game -- Seattle-Real Salt Lake -- on Oct. 17 and the regular season wraps up with the final two weekends. Six teams are contending for four playoff berths, though the postseason race could be decided as early as the weekend of Oct. 20-21. Here's a look at the key games that weekend:

Oct. 20: D.C. United vs. Columbus. D.C. United will clinch a playoff berth -- and do a favor to the New York Red Bulls and hand them a ticket to the postseason -- with a win over the Crew. D.C. United is 4-0-1 since losing MVP Dwayne De Rosario for the season. After winning four straight, Columbus cooled off in September and is 2-3-1 in its last six games.

Oct. 20: Houston vs. Philadelphia. A D.C. win and Dynamo win at BBVA Compass Stadium would end the playoff race in the Eastern Conference. The final weekend matchups are not as favorable to the Dynamo: Houston at Colorado on Oct. 27  and Columbus at home to Toronto the next afternoon.

Oct. 21: Vancouver vs. Portland. The Whitecaps head into the homestretch with a four-point lead over FC Dallas. A win in one of their final two games will give them a playoff berth in their second MLS season. A win over the Timbers would be a first, though. Portland leads the all-time series with three wins and one tie.

Oct. 21: Seattle vs. FC Dallas. FC Dallas' best hope is for it to sweep its final games against Seattle and Chivas USA and for Vancouver not to win either of its final two games. Two Dallas wins and two Vancouver ties would leave the teams tied with 44 points, and FCD would likely go through -- it leads in the tiebreaker by four goals.

STANDINGS:
EASTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T- +/-
59 *Sporting KC 17-7-8 40/26
56 *Chicago 17-10-5 45/39
54 D.C. United 18-10-6 49/40
53 New York 15-9-8 54/46
50 Houston 13-8-11 45/38
-----------------------------
49 Columbus 14-11-7 40/40
41 Montreal 12-15-5 45/50
36 Philadelphia 10-15-6 35/37
29 New England 7-17-8 37/44
22 Toronto FC 5-20-7 35/60

WESTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T- +/-
64 *San Jose 19-6-7 69/40
55 *Real Salt Lake 17-11-4 46/35
52 *Seattle 14-7-10 48/31
50 *Los Angeles 15-12-5 56/45
42 Vancouver 11-12-9 35/40
-----------------------------
38 FC Dallas 9-12-11 39/42
31 Colorado 9-19-4 40/50
30 Portland 7-16-9 32/55
29 Chivas USA 7-17-8 22/54
*Clinched playoff berth.

All times ET.

WEEK 32:
Wednesday, October 17
Seattle vs. Real Salt Lake, 10 pm
Saturday, October 20
Toronto FC vs. Montreal, 1:30 pm
New York vs. Sporting KC, 7 pm
D.C. United vs. Columbus, 7:30 pm
New England vs. Chicago, 7:30 pm
Houston vs. Philadelphia, 7:30 pm NBCSN
Chivas USA vs. Colorado, 10:30 pm
Sunday, October 21
San Jose vs. LA Galaxy, 7 pm Galavision
Vancouver vs. Portland, 7 pm
Seattle vs. FC Dallas, 9 pm ESPN ESPN Deportes

WEEK 33:
Wednesday, October 24
Sporting KC vs. Philadelphia, 8:30 pm
Saturday, October 27
Philadelphia vs. New York, 1:30 pm NBC
Montreal vs. New England, 2 pm
Chicago vs. D.C. United, 4 pm NBCSN
Portland vs. San Jose, 6:30 pm NBCSN
Colorado vs. Houston, 9 pm
Real Salt Lake vs. Vancouver, 9 pm
Sunday, October 28
Columbus vs. Toronto FC, 4 pm
FC Dallas vs. Chivas USA, 7 pm Galavision
LA Galaxy vs. Seattle, 9 pm ESPN ESPN Deportes



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