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Playoff Scenarios: With Only One Regular Season MLS Game Left, What Can Happen?

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CHESTER, PA- OCTOBER 15: Coach Peter Nowak of the Philadelphia Union waves to the fans after the game against Toronto FC at PPL Park on October 15, 2011 in Chester, Pennsylvania. The game ended 1-1.  (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
CHESTER, PA- OCTOBER 15: Coach Peter Nowak of the Philadelphia Union waves to the fans after the game against Toronto FC at PPL Park on October 15, 2011 in Chester, Pennsylvania. The game ended 1-1. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
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Yesterday the Colorado Rapids beat the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1, meaning that if Sporting Kansas City and the Columbus Crew both won, the Philadelphia Union would potentially fall all the way into the third Wild Card spot. Luckily for Philadelphia, only Sporting won, as Columbus fell to the Chicago Fire. The loss clinched a top three playoff spot for the Union, but whether or not they finish in second or third is still up in the air. The following is what can still happen for the Union, and which team they would face in each scenario.

Philadelphia will finish in second place:

  • IF the Houston Dynamo draw or lose to the Los Angeles Galaxy
  • THEN the Union will play the third place team. The Crew would be their opponents, with the first leg being played on Sunday, October 30 in Columbus (the date has been reported by multiple writers).
  • Sporting Kansas City would face FC Dallas if they win their playoff game against the New York Red Bulls, or the winner of the other wild card playoff game between the Rapids and the Dynamo. The Galaxy would face the lowest seed remaining after those two games. The other playoff game would be the Seattle Sounders versus Real Salt Lake.
The Union drop to third place in the Eastern Conference:
  • IF the Dynamo beat Los Angeles.
  • THEN the Union will play the second place team, which would be Houston. The first leg would be played in Philadelphia.
  • Sporting Kansas City would play Dallas if they win their playoff game against the New York Red Bulls, or the winner of the other wild card playoff game between the Rapids and the Crew. Los Angeles would face the lowest seed remaining after those two games.The other playoff game would be the Sounders versus Salt Lake.
What is the path to Los Angeles for the 2011 MLS Cup for the Union?:
  • IF the Union finish in second place, then they have to beat the Crew over two legs, then face the winner of Sporting and Dallas/New York.
  • IF Philadelphia finish in third place, then the Union have to beat Houston over two legs, then face the winner of Kansas City and Dallas/the Red Bulls.