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.
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:
Sat. Oct. 7: vs San Jose Earthquakes
Sat. Oct. 20: at Chivas USA
Sat. Oct. 27: vs Houston Dynamo
Wed, Oct 3: vs Chivas USA
Sun., Oct. 21: vs Portland Timbers
Sat., Oct. 27: at Real Salt Lake
Sun., Oct. 7: at Chivas USA
Sun., Oct. 21: at Seattle Sounders
Sun., Oct. 28: vs 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.