On this Columbus Day, we salute the Columbus Crew, Ohio State Buckeyes, La Salle Explorers, Genoa, Colon de Santa Fe (Argentina), Colon FC (Uruguay), Arabe Unido (Colon, Panama), Fox announcer Christopher Sullivan, Rio Ferdinand and Les Ferdinand.
In MLS, Columbus Day marks the final sprint to the playoffs: 19 of the 21 remaining league matches have, at the moment, postseason implications. (The exceptions: Toronto-New England and Los Angeles-Chivas USA).
The Supporters’ Shield has been settled: With Seattle’s home loss to Philadelphia on Saturday, the Los Angeles Galaxy secured the most points for the second consecutive year and fourth time overall (tied with D.C. United for the MLS record). The rewards include hosting the second leg of a second-round playoff series, hosting the Western Conference final (should the Galaxy advance), potentially becoming the first team since 2002 to be the true home team at MLS Cup (Home Depot Center was the pre-determined venue), and a berth in the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League.
The Supporters’ Shield doesn’t guarantee postseason success, however. Far from it. Only five of the previous 15 holders — and one of the previous eight — went on to win MLS Cup.
For the current standings and wild-card race.....
EASTERN CONFERENCE TOP 3 (automatic playoff berths)
Philadelphia Union 47 points from 32 matches (Toronto, at NY)
Sporting Kansas City 45 from 32 (New York, at DCU)
Columbus Crew 44 from 32 (at New England, at Chicago)
WESTERN CONFERENCE TOP 3 (automatic playoff berths)
Los Angeles Galaxy 64 points from 32 matches (Chivas, at Houston)
Seattle Sounders 57 from 32 (San Jose, at Chivas)
Real Salt Lake 51 from 32 (at Colorado, Portland)
WILD-CARD RACE (first four advance to playoffs)
FC Dallas 46 points from 31 matches (at Chicago, Vancouver, at SJ)
Colorado Rapids 45 from 32 (RSL, at Vancouver)
New York Red Bulls 43 from 32 (at KC, Philadelphia)
Houston Dynamo 43 from 32 (at Portland, Los Angeles)
Portland Timbers 40 from 31 (Houston, at DCU, at RSL)
D.C. United 38 from 30 (at Vancouver, vs. Chicago, Portland, KC)
Chicago Fire 37 from 31 (Dallas, at DCU, Columbus)
*Chivas USA, San Jose, Toronto, New England and Vancouver have been eliminated from playoff contention
Two key matches Wednesday: Dallas at Chicago (8:30 p.m. ET, Direct Kick, Matchday Live) and DCU at Vancouver (10 p.m., Comcast SportsNet/DC, Direct Kick, Matchday Live). The Fire needs to win to maintain realistic hopes of advancing. Dallas needs to win to strengthen its chances of finishing in the top three or claiming the first wild-card berth. DCU needs at least a draw; a victory would ease the pressure heading into the season-closing three home matches over eight days.