I got this interesting note from the MLS office, spelling out the playoff procedure with the example of if the season ended today. ... And if it did, Seattle would be a wild card paired once again with the Houston Dynamo who they are 2-0-1 against in league and Open Cup play.
Here's the MLS note:
If the MLS regular season ended today, defending MLS Cup Champions Columbus Crew (10-3-9, 39 points) and two-time MLS Cup Champions Houston Dynamo (11-6-7, 40 points) would secure the top seeds in their respective conferences. The Chicago Fire (10-5-8, 38 points) and the Los Angeles Galaxy (8-4-11, 35 points) would claim the number two seeds in their respective conferences.
The four MLS teams with the next most points, regardless of conference, would be awarded "wildcard" berths. Chivas USA (10-7-3, 33 points) would receive the first wildcard berth over Seattle Sounders FC (8-6-9, 33 points), because Chivas USA own a 2-0-0 record in head-to-head matches with Sounders FC this season. Sounders FC would claim the second wildcard berth and be seeded fourth in the Western Conference. Sounders FC's 33 points would be good enough for them to claim the second wildcard berth and would seed them fourth in the Western Conference.
The final two seeds would come down to a three way tie-breaker between the Colorado Rapids (8-7-6, 30 points), Toronto FC (8-8-6, 30 points) and the New England Revolution (8-6-6, 30 points), all tied with 30 points. Based on points per game records versus each other Toronto FC and the Colorado Rapids would qualify for the remaining two playoff spots ahead of the New England Revolution. Thus, Toronto FC would be seeded third in the East and the Rapids would crossover for the fourth and final spot in the East. Some crucial upcoming matches for this trio fighting for a playoff spot down the stretch would be Sept. 5 when TFC visits Colorado, Sept. 12 when the Rapids head to Toronto and Oct. 3 when New England go head-to-head with the Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
If the MLS Cup Playoffs began today, Seattle Sounders FC would become only the second team in MLS history (1998 Chicago Fire) to qualify for the playoffs in their inaugural season. Toronto FC, who joined the League in 2007, would qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time. The Galaxy would return to the playoffs after a four-year hiatus for the two-time MLS Cup Champions. D.C. United, the second-winningest club in MLS Cup Playoff history behind the Galaxy, would be on the outside looking in for the second consecutive season.
And so the playoff matchups would be as follows:
CLB (1) v COL (crossover)
CHI (2) v TOR (3)
HOU (1) v SEA (4)
LA (2) v CHV (3*)
* CHV wins tiebreaker (2-0-0 v SEA)
But the season does not end today.
Each club has 6-10 games left to secure one of eight spots before the MLS Cup Playoffs are scheduled to begin Oct. 29.
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