SAN JOSE -- The Earthquakes became the first team to clinch a Major League Soccer playoff berth by virtue of Chivas USA's 2-1 defeat Saturday to the Seattle Sounders FC.
San Jose (16-6-5) joined the Los Angeles Galaxy (2011) and D.C. United (2006) as the earliest teams to clinch playoff spots in MLS history. They did it with seven weeks left in the regular season.
The Quakes will advance to the MLS Cup tournament for the second time in three years. It will be San Jose's eighth playoff appearance overall.
The Earthquakes have 53 points to lead the Western Conference with the MLS' overall top record. Seattle (13-6-8) moved to within six points of San Jose in the West while Real Salt Lake (14-11-4) is seven points back. Sporting Kansas City leads the East with 50 points, three behind San Jose in the Supporters' Shield race.
The Quakes have won three in a row, including a 1-0 exhibition victory Thursday over San Luis FC of Mexico. They return to MLS action next Saturday at Chivas USA.
The top five teams in points in each conference advance to the playoffs that begin Oct. 31 with a single-elimination match against the fourth-and fifth-seeded teams. The home-and-home conference semifinals series are scheduled for Nov. 3-4 and Nov. 7-8. The conference finals will be held the next week with the MLS Cup scheduled for Dec. 1 at the highest-seeded team's field.