MLS Western Conference Playoff ChaosSeptember 13, 2019Harry Kettle
One thing that you can pretty much guarantee from Major League Soccer is chaos in some form or another, which is both helping the league and hindering it (in our personal opinion). This season is no different, but in terms of the MLS Cup playoffs, there is a very clear divide between the Eastern Conference and the West – as reported by MLS Soccer and Miami Herald.
There are currently four points separating second and eighth spot, with Los Angeles FC quite clearly leading the way as the Western Conference champions-elect.
Courtesy of the MLS Soccer report, we’re going to take a look at what we can expect heading into the final few games of the season. Explaining the chaos is one thing, but even coming to terms with just how bonkers the West is, is truly another.
Who will make it into the dance? Only time will tell.
19W – 4L – 6D
Remaining Matches (5): Sep 14 at PHI; Sep 21 vs. TOR; Sep 25 vs. HOU; Sep 29 at. MIN; Oct 6 vs. COL
Without Carlos Vela, LAFC took their first MLS home loss of the season against Minnesota, then drew Orlando City this weekend. Fluke or sign of mortality from one of the league’s greatest ever regular season teams? We’ll find out over the next month. The chase is still on for the league record for points, needing nine from five matches to beat the Red Bulls’ mark of 71 from last year. When will Vela return, and will his injury derail their aim for history?
2. Real Salt Lake
14W – 11L – 4D
Remaining Matches (5): Sep 15 at MIN; Sep 21 at NE; Sep 25 vs. LA; Sep 29 vs HOU; Oct 6 at VAN
It was a huge win Wednesday for Real Salt Lake, as their 1-0 triumph over San Jose launched them into second place in the West. Both teams were down a number of players due to the international break but Damir Kreilach’s header powered RSL to a crucial three points. They have another huge six-pointer this weekend against the Loons, with a real chance to create separation from a few teams trailing.
3. Seattle Sounders
13W – 9L – 7D
Remaining Matches (5): Sep 15 vs. RBNY; Sep 18 vs. DAL; Sep 22 at DC; Sep 29 at SJ; Oct 6 vs. MIN
Missing a number of players to international duty, an undermanned Seattle Sounders side fell to the Rapids last weekend then were overtook by RSL Wednesday. The Sounders will look to regain second place over the next month with a manageable schedule, though they remain just four points above the playoff line despite sitting in third.
4. Minnesota United
13W – 10L – 6D
Remaining Matches (5): Sep 15 vs. RSL; Sep 22 at POR; Sep 25 vs. SKC; Sep 29 vs. LAFC; Oct 6 at SEA
A chance to take one step closer to a home playoff match, Minnesota United fell on the road to the Houston Dynamo. It was a disappointing result, even if they were without Darwin Quintero. They have a number of huge six-pointers left this season, with RSL, Portland and Seattle all on the remaining schedule. Will Allianz Field host a playoff game this fall?
5. San Jose Earthquakes
13W – 11L – 5D
Remaining Matches (5): Sep 14 at NYC; Sep 21 at ATL; Sep 25 vs. PHI; Sep 29 vs. SEA; Oct 6 at POR
It’s a hellacious schedule to end the season for the San Jose Earthquakes, who started their stretch-run with a hard-fought road loss to RSL Wednesday. They head to East-leading NYCFC this weekend before a trip to Mercedes-Benz Stadium the following week, with the LA Galaxy just two points behind below the playoff line.
6. Portland Timbers
13W – 11L – 4D
Remaining Matches (6): Sep 15 vs. DC; Sep 18 vs. RBNY; Sep 22 vs. MIN; Sep 25 vs. NE; Sep 29 at SKC; Oct 6 vs. SJ
Sitting idle Wednesday, results were kind to the Portland Timbers. The Galaxy lost, keeping Portland above the playoff line while they lost no ground on Minnesota and San Jose. The Timbers still have a game in hand on all teams around them. Should they win that extra game, they’d be tied for second.
7. FC Dallas
12W – 10L – 7D
Remaining Matches (5): Sep 14 at CHI; Sep 18 at SEA; Sep 22 vs. NYC; Sep 29 at COL; Oct 6 vs. SKC
Speaking of teams that got good results Wednesday without playing, FC Dallas remain above the playoff line with the Galaxy’s loss. Level on games now, including three against teams below the playoff line, Dallas are getting closer to qualifying for the playoffs. Would the team be here without their miraculous three-goal comeback against Montreal a few weeks ago?
8. LA Galaxy
13W – 13L – 3D
Remaining Matches (5): Sep 15 vs. SKC; Sep 21 vs. MTL; Sep 25 at RSL; Sep 29 vs. VAN; Oct 6 at HOU
Though the Rapids have been playing at a playoff pace since May, Wednesday’s loss hurts for the LA Galaxy. Below the playoff line without games in hand, the Galaxy will have to jump someone above them. The good news? They’re a point below the playoff line, three points below hosting a first round game and four points below second place with a lighter schedule than their foes.
9. Sporting Kansas City
10W – 12L – 7D
Remaining Matches (5): Sep 15 at LA; Sep 21 vs. COL; Sep 25 at MIN; Sep 29 vs POR; Oct 6 at DAL
Sporting KC had one last stand to rescue their season, and they came painfully close to a season-defining win at Portland. But, a 1-0 lead in the 80th minute turned into a 2-1 loss, all but ending SKC’s playoff hopes. Theoretically, they could win each of their last five and hope for a little help, but, the season is more than likely now down to playing spoiler out West, with games remaining against the Galaxy, Minnesota, Portland and Dallas.
10. Colorado Rapids
10W – 14L – 6D
Remaining Matches (4): Sep 15 at TOR; Sep 21 at SKC; Sep 29 vs. DAL; Oct 6 at LAFC
Another week of ‘what if?’ for the Colorado Rapids. Since changing managers in May, they’ve played at a high level, and have taken nine points out of nine under new full-time boss Robin Fraser. Too bad they dug too big a hole early, but there’s real reason for optimism around the Rapids with their young talent and roster flexibility for 2020.
English professional sports writer with an interest in pro wrestling, MMA, athletics & more. As well as working for Insidemnsoccer, Harry has formerly produced content for FOX Sports Asia & TheLADbible