As Major League Soccer sits idle this week during the FIFA international break, four teams will battle for the remaing three postseason spots in the Eastern Conference when play resumes next week. On Sunday the Chicago Fire became the second team, along with Sporting Kansas City, to clinch a postseason spot with its 2-0 win against the New York Red Bulls. This is how the rest of Eastern Conference playoff race shapes-up for the remaining three MLS Cup Playoff spots:
COLUMBUS CREW 49 points (14-11-7) 1.53 PPG GF: 40 GD: 0 | Last 5 matches: L-W-L-W-D
The Crew was able to earn a point to stay within striking distance of the Houston Dynamo in fifth place behind Eddie Gaven's late equalizer Sunday against Sporting Kansas City. The Black & Gold will have to win its remaining matches at D.C. United and against Toronto FC at home-- and hope for others to falter-- to make the playoffs for the fifth-straight season. That being said, the Crew's Eastern Conference rivals have a tough road ahead. For example, if the Black & Gold beat D.C. United and Toronto FC, Houston, D.C., and New York will all be forced to get points in their remaining matches.
Remaining games: 10/20: at D.C. United Pub Tour
10/28: vs. Toronto FC Purchase Tickets
HOUSTON DYNAMO 50 points (13-8-11) 1.56 PPG GF: 45 GD: +7 | Last 5 matches: W-D-L-W-D
The Dynamo stayed one point ahead of the Crew with its 1-1 home draw against the Montreal Impact. Up next, Houston will welcome a Philadelphia Union side that has played well as of late to BBVA Compass Stadium, where it hasn't lost all season. The Dynamo closes out the season on the road against the Colorado Rapids. Like the Crew, Houston will likely need six points from its two final matches to ensure its place in the playoffs.
Remaining games: 10/20: vs. Philadelphia Union
10/27: at Colorado Rapids
D.C. UNITED 54 points (16-10-6) 1.69 PPG GF: 41 GD: +9 | Last 5 matches: W-W-W-D-W
D.C. United jumped to third place in the East following Hamdi Salihi's 88th minute goal to beat Toronto FC. United looks to clinch a playoff spot with a win or draw against the Crew on October 20 at home before the club's season finale on the raod agaisnt the Chicago Fire.
Remaining games: 10/20: vs. Columbus Crew
10/27: at Chicago Fire
NEW YORK RED BULLS 53 points (15-9-8) 1.66 PPG GF: 54 GD: +8 | Last 5 matches: W-L-D-W-L
The Red Bulls' playoff hopes could be in jeopardy after Hans Backe's side fell to the Fire 2-0 at home over the weekend. With two difficult games remaing, at home against East leaders Sporting Kansas City and on the road against the Philadelphia Union, New York could miss out on the playoffs if it loses both matches.
Remaining games: 10/20: vs. Sporting Kansas City
10/27: at Philadelphia Union
1) Most total goals scored
2) Greatest goal differential
3) Fewest disciplinary points
4) Most road goals scored
5) Greatest road goal differential
6) Most home goals scored
7) Greatest home goal differential
8) Coin toss (for 2 teams) or drawing of lots (3 or more teams)