The MLS playoffs are approaching and some teams are fighting to make the playoffs while others are battling for positioning. Less than four weeks still remain and Chicago, Columbus and Colorado are battling for the final playoff spot. Red Bull New York and Kansas City need only to not fall apart while FC Dallas looks to be safe as well. D.C. United, New England, Houston and Chivas USA have officially clinched playoff spots. Real Salt Lake, Toronto and Los Angeles are hanging on but realistically have very little chance of making the playoffs.
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The reality is the final spot is going to go to either Chicago or Columbus. Colorado still has a little hope because of a couple of key home games. The problem for the Rapids is that they are looking at probable losses at New England and Chivas USA. Chicago has to travel to Chivas USA and D.C. United while hosting New England. None of those games will be easy but if they are still in the chase they do host Los Angeles to end the season. Columbus probably has the best chance to make the playoffs because they have the most favorable schedule. They host Los Angeles and Dallas with road games at New England at D.C. United. The road games are not impossible because New England and D.C. United may be resting players for the playoffs in those games.
The top spots in the MLS are pretty much decided. D.C. United, New England, Chivas USA and Houston have pretty much wrapped things up. FC Dallas has a shot at catching Houston but is not playing well enough to do it. Red Bull New York would need a major run at the end to catch New England and that is not likely. That means in the East it will be D.C. United and New England with the top two spots and in the West Chivas USA and Houston will likely take the top two positions.
Keep in mind that finishing first or second guarantees a home advantage for the one-game conference championship if a team gets that far. In the current playoff format that started four years ago, the home team is 6-2 in the conference finals.
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