MLSsoccer.com editors has given the Colorado Rapids lots of love lately.
With just one game left in the MLS regular season for each team, the Rapids could still finish anywhere from 5th place in the Western Conference (where the team currently sits) to 1st place. There are four matches that will impact Colorado’s final standings:
We already know that while technically not in the playoff yet, it would take unheard of instances for Colorado not to claim the fifth and final Western Conference playoff spot this weekend.
In the East it's become a five team fight for the final three playoff berths as Montreal, Philadelphia, New England, Chicago, and Houston all have a chance to clinch - or be eliminated - following the last round of games.
Here are the complete playoff scenarios for the final week of the 2013 season:
Despite having accumulated the most points in club history - 51 with a 14-10-9 record - the Colorado Rapids are out of the running for the MLS Supporters' Shield, which is awarded annually to the team with the most regular season points.
The New York Red Bulls enter the final week of Major League Soccer's regular season controlling their own destiny in their quest to win the Shield and bring the club, one of the League’s original franchises, their first major trophy in their 18-year history.
At what point does greed overtake ambition?
The reason I ask is that, with Saturday's dramatic 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps at another packed Dick's Sporting Goods Park, the Colorado Rapids shattered club records in raising the bar to dizzy new heights - and still we want more.
Now, is that being greedy, bearing in mind how far this team has travelled this season, or does it show a burning desire to better oneself?
Mathematically, the Colorado Rapids need to wait until next week to officially clinch (and celebrate) a berth in the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs. But realistically, the team clinched a spot Sunday night after the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes played to a scoreless draw.
The Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake on Saturday joined the New York Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City as the first four MLS Cup playoff teams, leaving six postseason berths up for grabs.
The Timbers clinched their playoff spot before kicking off on Saturday night, since a 2-0 loss by the Seattle Sounders earlier in the day meant the Timbers could drop no lower than 5th place in the Western Conference.
On Thursday, MLS revealed the potential matchdays for the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs.
With 2014 World Cup qualifying still going on around the globe, the league will observe the international date that falls on the third weekend of November. And as was the case in 2012, there will be an extended break between the second leg of the Conference Finals and MLS Cup, which also coincides with the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States.
With two weeks to play in the MLS Regular Season, there are still eight spots up for grabs for the MLS Cup Playoffs - and there are dozens of possible scenario in which teams could either clinch a berth this week, or be eliminated.
Click here to check out the MLS Standings, and scroll down to see the scenarios as provided by Major League Soccer's Communications Department, starting with the Western Conference followed by the Eastern Conference:
Following Wednesday night’s results, where Vancouver claimed a 4-1 win in Seattle, and San Jose held serve at home by defeating Colorado, 1-0, the Western Conference standings are even tighter than before the week began. The top seven teams are separated by only seven points, and only the top five make the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Here’s how wild the standings are: on Oct. 10, the Rapids are only five points from the best record in MLS, four points from the top of the West, three points from second place, and yet only one point away from being bumped from the playoffs.