Monday, October 17, 2011

Rapids clinch berth in 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs

Commerce City, Colo. - The Colorado Rapids today clinched a berth in the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs and will begin defense of their MLS Cup title with a Wild Card playoff match on October 26 or 27. The location and opponent of the Wild Card game will be determined next weekend, when the Rapids visit the Vancouver Whitecaps on October 22 in the regular season finale.


After the Rapids' 0-0 draw with Real Salt Lake on Friday night, Colorado needed only a Sporting Kansas City victory over the New York Red Bulls on Saturday to secure a second-straight ticket to the postseason. Kansas City won 2-0 this afternoon, clinching a spot for the Rapids in the postseason as one of the four Wild Card teams. The Rapids are guaranteed to finish above eight other teams. NY and Portland can catch the Rapids at 46 points, however Colorado hold the tie-breaker against both teams by virtue of winning both season series.

On Saturday Colorado, Kansas City, and Philadelphia joined the LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders, Real Salt Lake, and FC Dallas in the postseason. The Columbus Crew and Houston Dynamo clinched their place later in the evening, leaving one open playoff spot.

The Rapids will attempt to become only the third team to repeat as MLS Cup Champions. DC United won the first two MLS Cup titles in 1996 and 1997 and the Houston Dynamo won back-to-back Cups in 2006 and 2007.


The top three teams in each conference qualify directly to the Conference Semifinals, while the next four teams with the best records regardless of conference qualify as Wild Cards. The four Wild Card teams will play single elimination games against each other, with the higher seed hosting (1 v 4; 2 v 3). After the two play-in game conclude, the lowest remaining seed will face Supporters Shield winners, LA Galaxy, and the higher seed will match up against the top team in the Eastern Conference.

The home-and-home Conference Semifinal series' begin on October 29 / 30. The winners of the aggregate goal Semifinal series meet in a single elimination Conference Championship, with those winners advancing to MLS Cup 2011 on November 20 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

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