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D.C. United vs Columbus Crew at 7:30 PM ET
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Having posted a 4-0-1 record over the last five matches, United is in prime position to clinch its first playoff spot since 2007 on Saturday evening against visiting Columbus. The top five teams from each conference earn a berth in the post-season and United currently sits in third place in the crowded Eastern Conference.
Below, we outline the scenarios under which United can secure passage to the post-season, as well as the scenarios that would see a home playoff match locked-up.
D.C. United will clinch a playoff spot if…
The team defeats or draws Columbus
Houston lose Saturday vs. Philadelphia
D.C. United will clinch a home playoff match if…
The team defeats Columbus
The team plays Columbus to a draw and Houston draws with or loses to Philadelphia
In other words, the Black-and-Red needs only to earn a draw on Saturday in order to clinch a berth in the post-season, while a win would guarantee no less than a fourth place finish and a playoff match right here at RFK Stadium.
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS
KC; 59 points; 32 GP
CHI; 56 points; 32 GP
DC; 54 points; 32 GP
NY; 53 points; 32 GP
HOU; 50 points; 32 GP
CLB; 49 points; 32 GP
FIRST TIE BREAKER - GOALS FOR
SECOND TIE BREAKER - GOAL DIFFERENTIAL
Here are the remaining MLS matches for each of the six Eastern Conference teams in the playoff hunt.
KC: at NY on Oct. 20, vs. PHI on Oct. 24
CHI: at NE on Oct. 20, vs. DC on Oct. 27
DC: vs. CLB on Oct. 20, at CHI on Oct. 27
NY: vs. KC on Oct. 20, at PHI on Oct. 27
HOU: vs. PHI on Oct. 20, at COL on Oct. 27
CLB: at DC on Oct. 20, vs. TOR on Oct. 28
IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY
If the season ended today, here is how the first two rounds of the post-season would shape up:
Wild Card Match (Oct. 31 or Nov. 1):
#5 HOU at #4 NY
Eastern Conference Semifinal, Leg 1 (Nov. 3 or Nov. 4):
#1 KC at #4 NY or #5 HOU
#2 CHI at #3 DC
Eastern Conference Semifinal, Leg 2 (Nov. 7 or Nov. 8):
#4 NY or #5 HOU at #1 KC
#3 DC at #2 CHI
Eastern Conference Final
Leg 1: Nov. 10-11
Leg 2: Nov. 17-18
MLS Cup final - Saturday, Dec. 1
Both the conference semifinal and conference final are total-goals aggregate series – the team with the most goals across both legs will advance. Should the teams be tied after both legs, the game would go to overtime and, if necessary, penalty kicks.