ColoradoRapids.com (Updated Oct. 24) – With only one day remaining in the 2008 MLS regular season your Colorado Rapids find themselves in a fight to the finish as this year continues to be the closest race for the playoffs in the league’s 13-year history.
Following their 2-1 victory over Chivas USA on Sunday your Rapids survived playoff elimination and enter this weekend’s regular season finale occupying fourth place in the Western Conference and currently not in playoff position.
It is pretty simple for the Rapids: if they win against Real Salt Lake on Saturday they clinch a postseason berth. If Colorado lose or draw their season is over.
For Real Salt Lake a win or draw over Colorado would give RSL their first-ever playoff berth while a loss will eliminate the Utah side from earning one of two available wild card spots due to their head-to-head standings against the teams they are tied with on 39 points in the Eastern Conference the Kansas City Wizards and New York Red Bulls.
Colorado (11-14-4 37 points) stand 2 points behind Real Salt Lake (10-10-9 39 points) who hold third place in the West the place that guarantees an automatic playoff spot. With a win over RSL the Rapids would leapfrog Salt Lake and take the playoff berth away from them.
Only two playoff berths remain open with four teams (Colorado DC United New York and Real Salt Lake) still in contention for those spots this weekend.
FC Dallas the LA Galaxy San Jose and Toronto FC have all been eliminated from playoff contention.
Your Rapids can punch their playoff ticket with a win and three points this Saturday as they host rivals Real Salt Lake at Dick's Sporting Goods Park at 7:30pm in their final regular season game of the 2008 season.
Saturday's winner will also take home this year's Rocky Mountain Cup as the Rapids and RSL have split the season series 1-1 with each side winning at home.
The following scenarios outline the race for the one wildcard berth and playoff positions in the 2008 MLS Cup Playoffs:
·If KC wins and DC wins KC finishes 4th in the East and DC 4th in the West
·If KC ties and DC wins by 3 goals or more DC finishes 4th in the East and KC 4th in the West
·If KC ties and DC wins by less than 3 goals KC finishes 4th in the East and DC 4th in the West.
·If KC loses and DC wins DC finishes 4th in the East and KC 4th in the West
·If DC ties (or loses) regardless of the KC result KC finishes 4th in the East and NY 4th in the West
CURRENT PLAYOFF POSITIONS AS OF 10/24/08
(Rank Team Current Points Remaining Games)
1. Columbus (54)  *
2. Chicago (46) *
3. New England (43)  *
4. Kansas City (39)  x
5. New York (39) y
6. DC United (37) 
7. Toronto (35) 
1. Houston (50)  *
2. Chivas USA (42)  *
3. Real Salt Lake (39) 
4. Colorado (37) 
5. FC Dallas (34) 
6. LA (32) 
7. San Jose (30) 
* Clinched a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Columbus has clinched the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Houston has clinched the top spot in the Western Conference.
x – KC hold the first wildcard and the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. KC hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over NY.
Y – NY hold the second wildcard and fourth seed in the Western Conference.
-Top 3 teams in each conference receive automatic berths in MLS Cup Playoffs
-Next 2 teams in points regardless of conference get wildcard berths in MLS Cup Playoffs
-Teams under the dotted lines are not currently in playoff position
IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY
If the season ended today the eight teams below would qualify for the playoffs. They are listed according to their would-be opponents. The first round is a two-game aggregate goals playoff series.
Eastern Conference Semifinals
#1 Columbus Crew vs. #4 Kansas City Wizards
#2 Chicago Fire vs. #3 New England Revolution
Western Conference Semifinals
#1 Houston Dynamo vs. #4 New York Red Bulls
#2 Chivas USA vs. #3 Real Salt Lake
The Conference Championship is a one-game winner take all match played at the home stadium of the team with the better regular season record.
MLS CUP PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Conference Semifinals Game 1:
·CHI at NE on Thurs. 10/30 at 7:30pm ET on ESPN2
·CHV at COL or RSL on Sat. 11/1 at 6pm ET on FSC
oCLB at DC on Sat. 11/1 at 7:30pm ET on HDNet/Regional/DK; or
oHOU at DC on Sat. 11/1 at 7:30pm on Regional/DK
oCLB at KC on Sat. 11/1 at 8pm ET on HDNet/Regional/DK; or
oHOU at KC on Sat. 11/1 at 8pm ET on Regional/DK; or
oHOU at NY on Sat. 11/1 at 4pm ET on Regional/DK
Conference Semifinals Game 2:
·NE at CHI on Thurs. 11/6 at 8:30pm ET on ESPN2
·DC or KC at CLB on Sat. 11/8 at 7:30pm ET on HDNet/Regional/DK
·RSL or COL at CHV on Sat. 11/8 at 10:30pm ET on FSC
·DC KC or NY at HOU on Sun. 11/9 at 3pm ET on TeleFutura/Regional
·If at CHI on Thurs. 11/13 at 8:30pm ET on ESPN2
·If at CHV on Sat. 11/15 at 10:30pm ET on FSC/HDNet
·If at COL on Thurs. 11/13 at 9:30pm ET on ESPN2 or on Sat. 11/15 at 9:30pm ET on FSC/HDNet
·If at CLB on Thurs. 11/13 at 7:30pm ET on ESPN2 or on Sat. 11/15 at 7:30pm ET on FSC/HDNet
·If at HOU on Sun. 11/16 at 7pm ET on FSC/HDNet
·If at NE on Sat. 11/15 at 7:30pm ET on FSC/HDNet
·If at RSL on Thurs. 11/13 at 9:30pm ET or on Sat. 11/15 at 9:30pm ET on FSC/HDNet
MLS CUP 2008
Sun. Nov. 23 1:30pm MT (ABC) at The Home Depot Center in Carson CA
QUALIFICATION AND SEEDING RULES
-Eight teams will qualify for the 2008 MLS Cup Playoffs
-Playoff berths will be determined by points in the standings upon the completion of the regular season; all 14 teams will have played 30 games.
-The top three teams in each conference qualify and are seeded 1 2 & 3 in their respective four-team playoff conference brackets.
-The two MLS teams with the next most points regardless of conference receive "wildcard" berths
-The two wildcard teams will be seeded according to conference first.
-If more than four teams qualify from one conference the team finishing lower than fourth in its conference will shift over to the other conference bracket.
-A team switching conference brackets will be seeded below all other teams in its new conference playoff bracket.
For complete MLS playoff qualification guidelines and tiebreakers click here
MLS GAMES THIS WEEK
(All times Mountain)
Thursday October 23
New York 2 at Chicago 5
Saturday October 25
Kansas City at New England - 5:30pm
Real Salt Lake at Colorado - 7:30pm
Toronto FC at San Jose - 8:00pm
Houston at Chivas USA - 8:30pm
Sunday October 26
FC Dallas at Los Angeles - 1:00pm
D.C. United at Columbus - 3:00pm
Ticket information and on-sale dates for potential Rapids playoff games will be announced soon; for questions regarding season tickets or for any of the remaining Rapids regular season home matches please call the Rapids Ticket Hotline at (303) 825-GOAL.