Ridge MahoneyÆs MLS Playoff Race Update

SA Senior Editor Ridge Mahoney puts the MLS playoff picture in focus following Aug. 30 games: One more team nailed down a playoff spot with an overpowering win and two other teams cast their fate in doubt by incurring losses on Wednesday (Aug. 30) night. The Fire blasted Dallas 4-0 and along with securing its own postseason slot, it rocked the playoff hopes of the Burn. Dallas fell to 8th place on the playoff ladder; although tied with Colorado at 40 points, it has lost the season series to the Rapids 2-0-0 and thus the tiebreaker. In the head-to-head department of those teams fighting for the lower seeds, Dallas holds the season edge over Columbus (2-1-1) and Colorado would also win a tiebreaker with the Crew (1-0-1). Dallas holds a two-point lead over Columbus for the eighth and final playoff spot. The Crew has a game in hand, but must play in San Jose Friday after squandering a two-goal lead Wednesday and losing to the Mutiny at home, 4-3. Columbus must also close the season with a home-and-home series against Chicago. Columbus does hold a head-to-head edge over New England (2-1-1). Tampa Bay's comeback win pushed it to the No. 1 seed. It is tied with the Metros on points with 51, and the teams split their season series 2-2-0. The next tiebreaker is goal difference in all games (not goal difference in head-to-head games) and the Mutiny holds a slight edge (+13 to +11). With nine days to go in the regular season, here's what we've got:
Seed/Team GP W L T P
1 x T.B. Mutiny 30 16 11 3 51
2 Games Remaining: @ K.C., vs. K.C.
2 y MetroStars 29 16 10 3 51
3 Games Remaining: @ MIA, MIA, @ N.E.
3 x K.C. Wizards 29 14 7 8 50
3 Games Remaining: vs. T.B, @ N.E., @ T.B.
4 x L.A. Galaxy 30 14 8 8 50
2 Games Remaining: vs. DAL@ COL
5 x Chicago Fire 29 14 9 6 48
3 Games Remaining: vs. COL, vs. CLB, @ CLB
6 N.E. Revolution 29 12 11 6 42
3 Games Remaining: @ D.C., vs. K.C. vs. MetroStars
7 Colorado Rapids 30 12 14 4 40
2 Games Remaining: @ CHI, vs. L.A.
8 Dallas Burn 30 12 14 4 40
2 Games Remaining: @ L.A., vs. S.J.
Columbus Crew 29 11 13 5 38
3 Games Remaining: @ S.J., @ CHI, vs. CHI
Miami Fusion 29 10 14 5 35
3 Games Remaining: vs. Metros, @ Metros, @ D.C.
^ D.C. United 30 7 17 6 27
2 Games Remaining: N.E., vs. MIA
^ S.J Earthquakes 29 6 16 8 26
2 Games Remaining: vs. CLB, @ DAL
KEY: y Clinched Division * Division Leader x Clinched Playoff Berth ^ Eliminated From Playoffs By stunning the Quakes 2-1 in stoppage time, the Galaxy kept up the pressure on Kansas City for the Western Division title. The Galaxy and the Fire have been juggling the fourth and fifth seeds for several weeks, and would meet in the first round of the playoffs unless one of them can win its division and thus secure a spot in the top three seeds. The top three seeds go to the divisional winners. The next five places are decided by points regardless of divisional placing. New England's strong run -- it has won three -- has pushed it into the top eight, and the Revs are one of six teams to have three games remaining. Two of them are at home, but those games bring Kansas City and the MetroStars to Foxboro, where the Revs are 8-3-3 this season. Miami is five points out of the playoffs and must play the Metros twice. Of the teams with which it is battling, it holds a tiebreaker edge over just one -- Colorado (3-1-0). It split its season series with the Revs (1-1-2). The playoff brackets look like this: 1. Tampa Bay vs. 8. Dallas; winner plays winner of 4. Los Angeles vs. No. 5 Chicago 2. Metros vs. 7. Colorado; winner plays winner of 3. Kansas City vs. 6. New England
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