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MLS playoff picture breakdown: East’s a beast (at least in terms of making it)

MLS Crew Sporting KC Soccer

Sporting Kansas City’s Chance Meyers, left, and Columbus Crew’s Tyson Wahl race for a pass during an MLS soccer game Saturday, June 29, 2013, in Kansas City, Kan. (AP Photo/The Kansas City Star, Andy Lundberg)

AP

One conference’s playoff race is a whole lot more wide open than the other’s, and that’s where we’ll begin this week’s MLS playoff picture breakdown.

The Eastern Conference has seen dramatic rises from New England and Columbus, cluttering up a table that has watched as Sporting KC dropped out of the running for the Supporters Shield, and now the division.

[ MORE: MLS weekend preview | Sporting visits White House ]

Let’s dig in.

THE EAST:

We’ve still yet to see our first formal playoff spot clinched, though DC United is mighty close. Sixth-place Toronto FC and eighth-place Houston each max out at 55 points and, with those two playing each other on Oct. 8, both won’t get there (And if one does, it will come at the expense of fifth-place New York). So a win for DC and they are undoubtedly in.

New England and Sporting KC both face the daunting tasks of keeping their eyes on the East’s top seeds while not playing with abandon. Neither are assured playoff spots, though fairly safe. The Revolution does get the chance to take points away from DC, but Sporting KC will still square off against United.

Wins from both KC and New England would really congest things at the top and bottom of the Top Five. As it stands now, the SportsClubStats.com site says it’ll likely be two of New York, Columbus and Toronto seizing the final spots (just as looking at the standings would say).

Philly needs crazy help after last night’s heart-wrenching home tie with Chicago.

TeamGPWDLGFGAGDHomeAwayPTS
D.C.30156946341210-3-25-3-751
New England3014313444229-2-45-1-945
Sporting KC3013611453785-6-48-0-745
Columbus3011109433678-4-43-6-543
New York3010119484628-4-22-7-741
Toronto FC29117114245-37-2-64-5-540
Philadelphia3191210464515-8-24-4-839
Houston29106133550-158-4-32-2-1036
Chicago3051783846-83-10-22-7-632
Montreal3066183454-206-3-60-3-1224

***

THE WEST:

Gyasi Zardes, DeAndre Yedlin

Los Angeles Galaxy’s Gyasi Zardes, right, is challenged by Seattle Sounders defender DeAndre Yedlin, left, in the first half of an MLS soccer match, Monday, July 28, 2014, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

AP

It’s win and in for Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas, while the real drama is whether Vancouver or Portland will find the fifth spot. The Whitecaps are hosting Dallas, while the Timbers travel to San Jose.

It’s pretty straight-forward for the playoffs, though the Supporters Shield is another story. Seattle has more wins than Los Angeles, and they’ll face each other in back-to-back matches to finish the season. The Sounders lead up to those encounters with matches against Colorado and Vancouver, while the Galaxy have Toronto and Dallas.

Schedule says Seattle. Form says Los Angeles. Should be awesome.

TeamGPWDLGFGAGDHomeAwayPTS
Seattle - x30183957461111-1-37-2-657
Los Angeles - x30169563313211-3-15-6-457
Real Salt Lake30131075038129-5-14-5-649
FC Dallas301461052401211-1-33-5-748
Vancouver3091383840-27-5-32-8-540
Portland309129545134-8-35-4-639
Colorado3088144154-136-5-42-3-1032
San Jose29611123442-85-5-51-6-729
Chivas USA3066182558-333-2-93-4-924

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