If the season ended today - Sept. 23 edition
Posted by: Matt Gaschk
Sounders FC remains atop the West, but the ever-changing playoff scenarios underwent another makeover on an eventful MLS weekend.
Sounders FC maintained its top spot in the Western Conference with a 1-1 draw against the LA Galaxy. However, a victory for the New York Red Bulls on Sunday put Seattle one point behind New York for the Supporters’ Shield race. So while Sounders FC keeps ahold of the top spot in the West, it still has work to do to claim the top overall spot.
That could be simplified on Sunday when Seattle hosts New York at CenturyLink Field, putting the Sounders against the No. 1 team in MLS for the second consecutive home match after hosting then-first place Salt Lake on September 13.
If the season ended today, here is a look at how the playoff picture would shake out.
With a record of 15-8-5, Seattle was the first club to reach 50 points and holds the top seed in the West. The LA Galaxy and Colorado Rapids are tied for fourth with 45 points, but the Galaxy hold the first tie-breaker of wins with its 13-10-6 record, just ahead of 12-9-9 Colorado. So the Galaxy would host a one-game playoff against the Rapids with the winner advancing to meet Sounders FC in the Western Conference Semifinal series.
On the other side of the bracket, Real Salt Lake is second at 14-10-6, two points ahead of the third-place Portland Timbers at 11-5-13.
Those five teams are far from set, though, as the Vancouver Whitecaps FC and San Jose Earthquakes are a mere four points behind Colorado for the fifth and final spot and FC Dallas sits five points back in eighth place.
The Eastern Conference picture is very similar, as three teams sit within just two points of the fifth and final spot.
New York climbed to the top with a 1-0 win over FC Dallas on Sunday, going three points ahead of Sporting Kansas City at 15-9-6. The Red Bulls would meet the winner of a one-game playoff between the Houston Dynamo (12-10-7) and New England Revolution (11-11-7), which would be played at Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium.
On the other side, Kansas City is No. 2 at 14-9-6 and would face the Montreal Impact, who sit third at 13-9-6.
On the outside looking in are the Chicago Fire and Philadelphia Union just one point behind New England and the Columbus Crew two points back.
This weekend figures to be pivotal for many teams. In addition to the top team in the East and West colliding in Seattle, the Timbers and Galaxy square off on Sunday and New England hosts Houston on Saturday. In addition, three playoff outsiders can climb into the top five with matches against would-be playoff teams as Philadelphia faces Kansas City on the road, Vancouver hosts Salt Lake and Chicago hosts Montreal.
The first round of playoff games between No. 4 and No. 5 in each conference will be one match hosted by the No. 4 seed. The winners of each conference semifinal series will meet in a two-leg conference final, with the two winners advancing to the MLS Cup final.
Sounders FC (15-8-5; 3 home, 3 away)
Sept. 29 vs. New York (ESPN)
Oct. 5 @ Colorado (NBC Sports)
Oct. 9 vs. Vancouver
Oct. 13 @ Portland (ESPN)
Oct. 19 @ FC Dallas (NBC Sports)
Oct. 27 vs. LA Galaxy (ESPN)
Real Salt Lake (14-10-6; 2 home, 2 away; 1 Open Cup)
Sept. 28 @ Vancouver
Oct. 1 vs. DC United; US Open Cup final (Gol TV)
Oct. 5 vs. FC Dallas
Oct. 19 @ Portland
Oct. 23 vs. Chivas USA
Portland (11-5-13; 3 home, 2 away)
Sept. 29 vs. LA Galaxy (NBC)
Oct. 6 @ Vancouver
Oct. 13 vs. Seattle (ESPN)
Oct. 19 vs. Real Salt Lake
Oct. 26 @ Chivas USA
LA Galaxy (13-10-6; 3 home, 2 away; 2 CCL)
Sept. 25 @ Cartigines; CONCACAF Champions League
Sept. 29 @ Portland (NBC)
Oct. 6 vs. Chivas USA
Oct. 16 vs. Montreal
Oct. 20 vs. San Jose (ESPN)
Oct. 24 @ Metapan; CONCACAF Champions League
Oct. 27 @ Seattle (ESPN)
Colorado (12-9-9; 2 home, 2 away)
Oct. 5 vs. Seattle (NBC Sports)
Oct. 9 @ San Jose
Oct. 19 vs. Vancouver
Oct. 27 @ Vancouver
Vancouver (11-10-8; 3 home, 2 away)
Sept. 28 vs. Real Salt Lake
Oct. 6 vs. Portland
Oct. 9 @ Seattle
Oct. 19 @ Colorado
Oct. 27 vs. Colorado
San Jose (11-11-8; 2 home, 2 away; 1 CCL)
Sept. 29 @ Chivas USA
Oct. 9 vs. Colorado
Oct. 20 @ LA Galaxy (ESPN)
Oct. 23 vs. Heredia; CONCACAF Champions League
Oct. 26 vs. FC Dallas (NBC Sports)
FC Dallas (10-9-10; 3 home, 2 away)
Sept. 29 vs. Columbus
Oct. 5 @ Real Salt Lake
Oct. 12 vs. Chicago
Oct. 19 vs. Seattle (NBC Sports)
Oct. 26 @ San Jose (NBC Sports)