Columbus vs Dallas
Columbus' loss pushes Metro into the playoffs
October 6, 2007

Do not believe what you read on MLSnet; Metro is in the playoffs, as Columbus' 3:1 loss to Dallas was enough for New York to clinch a berth for the 5th straight year. According to the league, Metro would still need an LA non-win to clinch, but as we'll explain below, that is not the case.

Currently, Metro sits 6th in the league on 39 points, with two games left. For them to drop out of the playoffs, they need to be passed by three teams. Currently, Kansas City and Chicago are 7th and 8th with 37 points and 36 points respectively, with two games left for each. Los Angeles, with its 27 points, but four games left (Update: 32 points and three games left as of Sunday night), is the only other team that can catch Metro. They would have to win out to reach New York's point total of 39, triggering a tie-breaker if Metro is to remain at that number.

So to miss the playoffs, Metro would have to be passed by all three of those teams. However, that is mathematically impossible. Since Los Angeles and Chicago play each other in the regular season finale, there is no possible scenario for both of them to pass New York. The only case which comes close to that would be a three-way tie on 39 points (Metro loses their final two matches, Los Angeles wins out, and Chicago wins its first game but loses to Los Angeles). But in that case, the first tie-breaker is head-to-head between the three teams. In the scenario described, Metro would be 3-1-1, LA would be 3-1, and Chicago would be 0-4-1, so Metro and LA would qualify, leaving Chicago behind.

So the only question remaining is who will Metro play in the first round. Finishing third in the East would mean a likely date with New England, fourth place would play DC, and finishing fifth would send Metro out West in the new playoff format, to play against Chivas USA or Houston. Against these four teams, Metro is 2-7-1, with the two wins, over DC and Houston, coming by 1:0 scores.

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