They've only scored 19 goals on the year. They are one loss away from double-digits. They suffered a nine-game winless streak. They endured the Pablo Escobar era.
Yep, believe it or not, the Kansas City Wizards' hopes to make the MLS playoffs are absolutely, positively, amazingly, shockingly, impossibly still alive.
As of right now, this is how things stand.
MLS Single Table StandingsCategory I: The eight playoff teams that are in if the playoffs started today:
1. Los Angeles Galaxy-x: 43 points (21 GP)
2. Columbus Crew-y: 40 points (21 GP)
3. Real Salt Lake-x: 39 points (21 GP)
4. FC Dallas: 36 points (21 GP)
5. New York Red Bulls-y: 34 points (21 GP)
6. Seattle Sounders: 29 points (21 GP)
7. San Jose Earthquakes: 29 points (19 GP)
8. Colorado Rapids: 28 points (20 GP)x -- Automatic qualifiers from Western Conference; y -- Automatic qualifiers from Eastern Conference. Category II: The six teams within 10 points of the last playoff spot if the playoffs started today:
9. Toronto FC: 26 points (20 GP)
10. Chicago Fire: 24 points (18 GP)
11. Kansas City Wizards: 23 points (20 GP)
12. Houston Dynamo: 23 points (21 GP)
13. New England Revolution: 21 points (20 GP)
14. Chivas USA: 19 points (20 GP)Category III: The two teams that are pretty much out of contention regardless of when the playoffs start:
15. Philadelphia Union: 17 points (20 GP)
16. D.C. United: 15 points (21 GP)
A few things that stand out:
• Chicago and San Jose are obviously in the driver's seat due to the fact that they get to play more games down the stretch than anyone else.
• Kansas City gets to prove they belong as they play five teams from Category I (@Los Angeles, FC Dallas, @New York, Seattle, San Jose) and four teams from Category II (Houston, @Chivas, @Chicago, @New England).
• If the minimum amount of points for playoff inclusion is 40 points (a very reasonable number, since only twice since 2005 has a team made the playoffs with less than 40 points: The '06 and '08 New York Red Bulls who had 39 points), the Wizards will need to find 17 points over 10 games. There are two paths the Wizards can go by: 5 wins, 2 ties and 3 losses OR 4 wins, 5 ties and 1 loss.
The odds of Kansas City nearly doubling their win total over the last 10 games of the season (with 9 of those 10 games coming against teams that are also in the playoff race) aren't astronomical... but they aren't great.
Of course, you could ignore all the information above and take the Han Solo stance...
Vive les Wizards.