SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes became the first team to clinch an MLS Cup Playoff berth following Chivas USA’s loss against Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday. The postseason trip is San Jose’s second in three years and the eighth in club history.
This season, the Earthquakes are aiming to capture the No. 1 overall seed by virtue of winning the Supporters’ Shield. Should San Jose top the league table in points and make a run to the MLS Cup championship game, they would host the final.
“This was our goal back in January, to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs. To do so with seven games remaining is a tremendous accomplishment, but we still have work to do,” said Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop.
The Earthquakes (16-6-5, 53 pts.) continue to pace the Western Conference and Supporters Shield races. Seattle (13-6-8, 47 pts.) and Real Salt Lake (14-11-4, 46 pts.) trail San Jose in the conference standings while Eastern Conference leader Sporting Kansas City (15-7-5, 50 pts.) is the next closest for the Supporters’ Shield.
Ten teams qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs and are seeded within their conference one-through-five based on regular season finish. The postseason kicks off on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 with first round knockout matches between the fourth- and fifth-seeded teams. The two-leg Conference Semifinal begins Nov. 3 and 4 with the top seed facing the winner of the first round knockout.
The Earthquakes won MLS Cups in 2001 and 2003 and took home the Supporters’ Shield in 2005. They last qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2010, earning the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. After knocking off top-seeded New York in the Conference Semifinal, San Jose bowed out with a 1-0 loss to the eventual champion Colorado Rapids.