Then when the rest of the league gets back into action this weekend, more playoff spots are within reach for four teams. And the Cascadia Cup also will be decided Sunday, when Portland visits Vancouver. A Timbers win gives the cup to Portland; any other result keeps it in Seattle.
Here is a league-provided look at what will be at stake:
MLS Cup Playoff Race UpdateReturning to action after the international break, four clubs (three from the East, one from the West) set their sights on qualification for the 2012 MLS Cup playoffs. On Saturday, October 20, three Eastern Conference clubs have the opportunity to clinch playoff berths. Columbus Crew travel to Washington D.C. to fight for their playoff lives but face a tough test on the road. If D.C. defeats Columbus, the remaining three playoff spots in the Eastern Conference could be accounted for by Saturday night. United have gone 4-0-1 in their last five games while outscoring their opponents 6-2 and posting three shutouts. On Sunday, October 21, Vancouver Whitecaps FC will have a chance to secure their first MLS Cup playoff appearance. If the second-year club beats Portland they are guaranteed one of the Western Conference playoff spots. PLAYOFF SCENARIOS D.C. United will clinch a playoff spot IF · D.C. United win or tie vs. Columbus Crew on Saturday OR · Houston Dynamo lose vs. Philadelphia Union on Saturday New York Red Bulls will clinch a playoff spot IF · New York Red Bulls win vs. Sporting Kansas City on Saturday OR · Columbus Crew lose vs. D.C. United on Saturday OR · New York Red Bulls tie vs. Sporting Kansas City on Saturday AND · Houston Dynamo lose vs. Philadelphia Union on Saturday OR · Columbus Crew tie vs. D.C. United on Saturday Houston Dynamo will clinch a playoff spot IF · Houston Dynamo win vs. Philadelphia Union on Saturday
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AND · Columbus Crew lose vs. D.C. United on Saturday Vancouver Whitecaps FC will clinch a playoff spot IF · Vancouver Whitecaps FC win vs. Portland Timbers on Sunday OR · FC Dallas lose vs. Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday OR · Vancouver Whitecaps FC tie vs. Portland Timbers on Sunday AND · FC Dallas tie vs. Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday San Jose Earthquakes will win the Supporters’ Shield IF · San Jose Earthquakes win vs. LA Galaxy on Sunday OR · Sporting Kansas City lose or tie vs. New York Red Bulls on Saturday