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Playoff picture - the final weekend

It all comes down to this weekend. Six teams have already qualified for the MLS Cup playoffs, while another six are competing for the final two spots in the final games of the 2009 season. D.C. United is among the team's hoping to extend its season with a win at Kansas City tomorrow almost a necessity. As you prepare for a weekend full of soccer-watching, who should you be rooting for and against?

MLS Communications put together a somewhat-simplified look at the playoff picture. Check it out after the jump. 

Below are some of the permutations of this weekend’s games. This list is not comprehensive, but rather is intended to simplify the scenarios facing each club on the bubble of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
  
D.C. United
  • If DC is the only team tied on 39 points to win, they will qualify
  • If DC wins and Colorado wins AND New England OR Toronto win, they cannot qualify (unless DAL, DC AND TOR win – decided by goal differential)
  • In the case of a tie on 40 points (RSL win, DC tie), DC will qualify ONLY if FC Dallas AND DC tie, or if DAL AND DC AND TOR tie 
Colorado Rapids will qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs IF:
  • Colorado defeats Real Salt Lake on Saturday OR
  • Colorado ties Real Salt Lake AND
  • The four teams on 39 points all lose or all tie OR IF
  • Only one of TOR, NE, DC and FCD win
Note: If Colorado loses to Real Salt Lake, it hopes to do so by less than a two-goal margin and it hopes that less than two teams with 39 points win this week.
 
Real Salt Lake need to defeat Colorado on Saturday and hope that no more than one of the teams on 39 points wins. Unless all four teams with 39 points lose, RSL need to defeat Colorado by more than a one-goal margin because a win leaves them tied on points and in head-to-head (1-1-1), so goal differential could decide their fate.
 
If two or more teams tied on 39 points win, or if two or more tie on 40 points along with RSL (in the case of an RSLwin), there are some concurrent results that will favor them based on tiebreakers. This is a brief overview of what will help each team:
 
FC Dallas
  • If FC Dallas is the only team tied on 39 points to win, they will qualify
  • If FC Dallas wins and Colorado wins, FC Dallas must hope that DC or New England do not win, as this lessens their chances
  • In the case of a tie on 40 points (RSL win, DAL tie), FC Dallas must hope that DC does not also tie
New England Revolution
  • If New England is the only team tied on 39 points to win, they will qualify
  • If New England wins and Colorado wins, New England must hope that Toronto does not also win (unless ONLY DAL and NE win)
  • If New England wins and Colorado loses or ties, the ONLY way New England will NOT qualify is if DAL AND NE AND TOR (ONLY) WIN
  • In the case of a multiple tie on 40 points (RSL win, NE tie), New England must hope DC ALSO ties or TOR does not tie (unless all four on 39 tie)
Toronto FC
  • If Toronto is the only team tied on 39 points to win, they will qualify
  • If Toronto wins and Colorado wins, TOR must hope FC Dallas does NOT win – unless ALL four teams on 39 points win (DAL AND DC AND NE AND TOR)
  • If Toronto wins and Colorado loses or ties, Toronto is all but assured of qualifying
  • In the case of a multiple tie on 40 points (RSL win, TOR tie), TOR is all but assured of qualifying UNLESS DAL, NE AND TOR all tie
First tie-breaker: The highest position shall be awarded to the team with the better win/loss record in current regular season games against all other teams equal in points. (head-to-head competition) If two teams are tied in points-per-game atop such a tiebreaker, the top team is determined by goal differential. Below are the records of each of the teams vying for a playoff spot. As an example, Toronto FC would prefer to finish the season tied on points with D.C. United and New England than it would with Chicago and FC Dallas.
 
Head-to-head records (W-L-T) of six "bubble teams
  
TEAM vs. COL vs. DAL vs. DC vs. NE vs. RSL vs. TOR
COL ----- 1-1-1 1-1-0 0-0-2 1-0-1 1-1-0
DAL 1-1-1 ----- 0-1-1 1-1-0 1-1-0 1-0-1
DC 0-1-1 1-0-1 ----- 0-1-1 0-1-1 0-1-1
NE 0-0-2 1-1-0 1-0-1 ----- 1-1-0 0-1-1
RSL 0-1-1 1-1-0 1-0-1 1-1-0 ----- 1-1-0
TFC 1-1-0 0-1-1 1-0-1 1-0-1 1-1-0 -----