Playoff Scenarios: The possibilities of Week 32

Timbers fighting 3 teams for final playoff slot

It’s all coming down to the wire.

After Saturday’s slate of matches, nine teams have clinched a playoff berth. With only one week remaining in the regular MLS season, there are still four teams trying to stake a claim for the final playoff spot.

On the other hand, those teams already with a ticket to the postseason will be vying for critical seeding, especially out in the East, where first place is still up for grabs.

Here’s how things could shake out.

MLS Cup Playoffs clinching scenarios

Portland Timbers clinch a place in the MLS Cup Playoffs IF:

  • they defeat both D.C. United and Real Salt Lake AND
  • New York Red Bulls tie or lose to Philadelphia Union

OR

  • they defeat D.C. United AND
  • Chicago Fire defeat Columbus Crew AND
  • New York Red Bulls lose to Philadelphia Union

OR

  • they defeat Real Salt Lake AND
  • Chicago Fire defeat Columbus Crew AND
  • D.C. United tie or lose to Sporting Kansas City
  • New York Red Bulls lose to Philadelphia Union

OR

  • a combination of a win and a draw against D.C. United and Real Salt Lake AND
  • New York Red Bulls lose to Philadelphia Union

New York Red Bulls clinch a place in the MLS Cup Playoffs IF

  • they defeat Philadelphia Union

OR

  • they tie Philadelphia Union AND
  • Portland Timbers win AND tie in their two games

OR

  • they lose to Philadelphia Union AND
  • Portland Timbers lose at least one game AND
  • D.C. United fail to win either game AND
  • Chicago Fire fail to win

Chicago Fire clinch a place in the MLS Cup Playoffs IF:

  • they defeat Columbus Crew AND
  • Portland Timbers fail to win their two games AND
  • D.C. United tie or lose to EITHER Portland Timbers or Sporting Kansas City
  • New York Red Bulls lose to Philadelphia Union AND

    • Chicago overcome a goal difference with New York of 5 goals

D.C. United clinch a place in the MLS Cup Playoffs IF:

  • they defeat both Portland Timbers AND Sporting Kansas City AND
  • New York Red Bulls lose to Philadelphia Union

OR

  • they defeat both Portland Timbers AND Sporting Kansas City AND
  • New York Red Bulls tie Philadelphia Union AND

    • D.C. United overcome a goal difference with New York of 7 goals

MLS Cup Playoffs seeding scenarios

Sporting Kansas City clinch first place in the Eastern Conference IF:

  • they defeat D.C. United AND
  • Philadelphia Union tie or lose to New York Red Bulls

Philadelphia Union clinch first place in the Eastern Conference IF:

  • they defeat New York Red Bulls AND
  • Sporting Kansas City tie or lose to D.C. United

IF: Sporting Kansas City AND Philadelphia Union BOTH WIN

OR

IF: Sporting Kansas City AND Philadelphia Union BOTH TIE AND

  • Columbus Crew lose to Chicago Fire

THEN: season goal differential is first tiebreaker, followed by total goals scored (KC-PHI head-to-head is 0-0-2)

Columbus Crew clinch first place in the Eastern Conference IF:

  • they defeat Chicago Fire AND
  • BOTH Sporting Kansas City AND Philadelphia Union tie and/or lose

Houston Dynamo clinch third place in the Eastern Conference IF:

  • they defeat LA Galaxy AND
  • Columbus Crew tie or lose to Chicago Fire

IF: FC Dallas AND Real Salt Lake BOTH WIN or BOTH TIE or BOTH LOSE

  • Real Salt Lake will clinch third place in the Western Conference