Playoff Outlook: Rapids must sweep final three, get help

Rapids need Chivas USA to tie or defeat Vancouver tonight in order to keep hopes alive

With the Colorado Rapids tying the LA Galaxy Sunday evening, the fifth and final Western Conference berth in the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs will be decided over the final three weeks of the season, though teams could be eliminated on Wednesday.

Vancouver (39 points) currently holds the fifth spot ahead of Dallas (37 pts), Colorado (31 pts), Portland (30 pts), and Chivas USA (28 pts). Every team but Chivas has three games remaining. Chivas has four games left.

STANDINGS AS OF SUNDAY NIGHT

In order for the Rapids to qualify for the postseason, all three of the following must happen:

  • Rapids win final three matches AND
  • Vancouver accumulate a maximum of one point AND
  • Dallas accumulate a maximum of three points.

If Colorado and Vancouver and Dallas finish even on 40 points, the first tie-breaker to determine the final playoff spot is goals scored.

In other words, the Rapids will be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention if any of the following happen:

  • Colorado fails to win any of their final three games OR
  • Vancouver wins one game or ties two games OR
  • Dallas accumulates four points.

NOTE: Chivas and/or Portland could also qualify, however that could only happen if Colorado is eliminated.

If Vancouver defeat Chivas USA on Wednesday, October 3, Portland, Chivas, and the Rapids would be eliminated and the final spot would be settled between the Whitecaps and FC Dallas.

Each team's schedule is as follows:

Colorado:

Sat. Oct. 7: vs San Jose Earthquakes

Sat. Oct. 20: at Chivas USA

Sat. Oct. 27: vs Houston Dynamo

Vancouver:

Wed, Oct 3: vs Chivas USA

Sun., Oct. 21: vs Portland Timbers

Sat., Oct. 27: at Real Salt Lake

FC Dallas:

Sun., Oct. 7: at Chivas USA

Sun., Oct. 21: at Seattle Sounders

Sun., Oct. 28: vs Chivas USA

Chivas USA:

Wed. Oct. 3: at Vancouver

Sun., Oct. 7: vs FC Dallas

Sat., Oct. 20: vs Colorado Rapids

Sun., Oct. 28: at FC Dallas

The San Jose Earthquakes, LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake, and Seattle Sounders have clinched the first four Western Conference playoff berths.