Things took a wild turn in the MLS playoff race last night as the team with the least amount of points heading into the day, Real Salt Lake, was the only team to end the night with a playoff spot clinched.
Real Salt Lake got into the 2009 edition of the MLS Cup Playoffs in the same exact way they got into the 2008 postseason -- by defeating the Colorado Rapids in the last game. The Rapids, who would have clinched with a win at Salt Lake, fell to RSL 3-0 last night.
Despite the loss, the Rapids are somehow still clinging onto the eighth
and final playoff spot. That could all change today though, as if New
England wins or draws against Columbus they will advance.
What does this all mean for the Fire? Well, for once, it's actually pretty straight-forward. Here are the possible scenarios:
1) New England loses
If New England falters against the Crew -- winners of this year's Supporter's Shield -- they will fail to qualify for the playoffs and Colorado would hang onto the final postseason spot. The Fire would play Real Salt Lake in the first round of the playoffs -- a somewhat scary proposition for me given Real Salt Lake's recent form.
2) New England ties
A tie would put the Revolution in the playoffs ahead of Colorado. A draw would also give the Revs the third seed in the Eastern Conference and would make them the Fire's first round opponent.
3) New England wins
If the Revs defeat the Crew (who really don't have anything to play for...) they will leap past RSL and Colorado for the Eastern Conference's third seed. The Revs and the Fire would meet in the first round should New England win.
I'll be back after the Revs-Crew game with a final playoff update setting the scene for what should be an exciting postseason. Stay tuned.