Colorado has made the playoffs for the first time since changing their colors and building The Dick, so obviously this playoff appearance is going to be dissected a bit more than it would for, say, a team like the Galaxy who have already been there so many times they don't even care any more. The teams that have made the playoffs might be set in stone by now but the final positioning of all the teams are still in contention.
Colorado will be facing either the New York Red Bulls, the Columbus Crew or the LA Galaxy in the playoffs, depending how the final handful of games finish up in the regular season. Quoting straight from the Rapids website;
Colorado will finish 4th in the Western Conference and play the Galaxy IF:
- Colorado defeat Real Salt Lake, AND
- Seattle lose to Houston, AND
- SJ win, at most, one of their final two games (vs. Chivas on Wed, at KC on Sat.)
Colorado will move to the Eastern Conference Playoff Bracket and play NY or Columbus IF:
- Colorado tie / lose to Salt Lake, OR
- Seattle tie or defeat Houston, OR
- San Jose win both of the final two games
So who do we want to face? We can't very well use the head to head records between the two teams since the Rapids haven't played Columbus or New York after they had the improvement in the squad via acquiring Brian Mullan and Macoumba Kandji which led them to two tough away draws against FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake. Even then, they first faced the Red Bulls at home before they got Henry and Marquez.
The Galaxy are in a bit of a slide. I think Denz from RSL Soapbox puts it best with the stats here.
LA has lost two of their last 5 matches, the only two against playoff caliber teams, their 3 wins are against teams with a combined 22-49-15. You can go further back but the reality is that since July 22nd they are 5-5-2, and that simply spells a team in distress and while they may win the Supporters' Shield, whoever they face in the first round of the playoffs has to feel confident they can make it very interesting on the team that up to June looked like the odds on favorites to win everything.
Columbus isn't doing all that well either. The numerous competitions that they've been involved with including a run to the very end of the US Open Cup where they lost to Seattle have taken their toll on the depth-starved Crew and they've been stone cold going into the playoffs, with big losses to Seattle in both the cup final and regular season along with a loss to the lowly Chicago Fire. Hell, they needed their GOALKEEPER to net a goal in order to draw with Toronto FC.
New York is probably the hottest of the three teams the Rapids can possibly face, and are definite MLS Cup contenders. Since getting their double DP punch earlier in the season they've torn through the league including embarrassing the Rapids 3-1 in New York the day before they traded Mehdi Ballouchy for Mac Kandji. They did just drop a game to the Philadelphia Union, but have still only lost three of their last thirteen games.
Who would you rather face out of those three?