HOUSTON - AUGUST 14: Kenny Cooper #33 of the Portland Timbers holds off Adam Moffat #16 of the Houston Dynamo as he looks to control a pass at Robertson Stadium on August 14, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
After the long break for international friendlies, the Portland Timbers will be back in action tomorrow at home against the Houston Dynamo. The Timbers' last game at Jeld-Wen will kick off a run of three games in eight days to close out the team’s first season in Major League Soccer.
The Race For The Final Playoff Berths
The Timbers, New York Red Bulls, Houston Dynamo and D.C. United all remain in the hunt for the final two wild-card playoff spots. Only D.C. have played a game since last week, losing 2-1 away against the Vancouver Whitecaps, but other games around the league have seen the shape of the playoff race change.
Team by team breakdowns after the jump
New York Red Bulls
43 points, 32 games
Remaining Schedule: Sporting Kansas City (A), Philadelphia Union (H)
After suffering through a seesaw season that saw them predicted to be unbeatable early on, suffer through a ten game win-less streak and surge back into the playoff race with three wins in the last five games, the Red Bulls are still in the hunt for the top spot in the east. However, with games against their main competition Kansas City and Philadelphia yet to go, New York has a difficult road ahead of them SKC is certainly the less on form of New York’s opponents, but they have been difficult to beat at home. Philadelphia, however, are currently riding a seven game undefeated streak and are coming off a big win on the road in Seattle.
43 points, 32 games
Remaining Schedule: Portland Timbers (A), L.A. Galaxy (H)
The Dynamo lucked out with the Seattle Sounders loss to the Philadelphia Union which allowed the Galaxy to clinch the Supporters Shield, leaving L.A. with little to play for in their final game. Houston do face a tough test on the road against Portland tomorrow and will count themselves lucky if they can leave with a point.
40 points, 31 games
Remaining Schedule: Houston Dynamo (H), D.C. United (A), Real Salt Lake (A)
A win over the Dynamo on Friday will be crucial for the Timbers to advance to the postseason. With a game in hand and three points back on New York and Houston in the 9th and 10th place spots, the Timbers will need another win from their final two games as well if they want to have a good chance of making the playoffs. If they are only able to take four or five points to close out the season, their chances will be much more slim. Luckily, they face D.C. who have also struggled recently to put games away and Real Salt Lake who will be without midfielder Kyle Beckerman and who have looked to be only shadows of the team that looked set to contend for the supporter’s shield at the start of the season.
38 points, 31 games
Remaining Schedule: Chicago Fire (H), Portland Timbers (H), Sporting Kansas City (H)
D.C. have finally come even with the Timbers in the number of games they have played. Luckily for the Timbers, D.C.’s last game was a loss to Vancouver. However, United’s remaining three games are all at home. Both Chicago and Portland will likely be fighting for their lives, needing to take all three points in D.C. to qualify for the playoffs while Kansas City will want all three points as well if they are going to take first place in the eastern conference. None of D.C.’s remaining opponents are particularly fearsome on the road, but United have one of the league’s worst home records.
The Guys Above
L.A. Galaxy - 64 Points, 32 Games
Seattle Sounders - 57 Points, 32 Games
Real Salt Lake - 51 Points, 32 Games
F.C. Dallas - 49 Points, 32 Games
Philadelphia Union - 47 Points, 32 Games
Sporting Kansas City - 45 Points, 32 Games
Colorado Rapids - 45 Points, 32 Games
Columbus Crew - 44 Points, 32 Games
The Guys Just Below
While the Chicago Fire are still not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, a big loss to F.C. Dallas on Wednesday has them all but eliminated. A positive result for any of the teams above will eliminate the Fire.