The Full 90

September 30, 2013

MLS Playoff Watch: The points that got away from Sporting KC

Depending on your outlook, this is a weekend lost or a weekend stuck in neutral for Sporting Kansas City. Thanks to a 1-0 loss to Philadelphia and results throughout the rest of the league, not much has changed in Kansas City's hunt for the playoffs, Eastern Conference crown or Supporter's Shield.

The Full 90

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This wasn't a very good weekend to drop points. At home. Again.

With the top of the Eastern Conference table separated by just six points going into the weekend (and with Sporting Kansas City just three back of the Supporter's Shield lead), not much has changed for Kansas City on Monday.

But as things played out across the league, the three points dropped to Philadelphia would haunt Kansas City fans.

The New York Red Bulls (thanks to a 1-1 draw with Seattle in a table-topping clash) lead the way with 52 points from 31 games. Sporting KC have 48 points from 30 games and Montreal sit two back with 46 points from 29 games. Don't sleep on Houston, I suppose, who are on 44 points from 30 games despite a 1-1 draw with New England. Philadelphia did themselves proper by clawing above Columbus, New England and Chicago to get into the last playoff spot (for now).*

*Those last four teams are separated by 2 points.

If Sporting KC could've taken care of business against Philadelphia*, the table would've looked quite different. Especially in the Supporter's Shield race. A win would've placed Kansas City just one point behind New York and in a tie with Salt Lake and Seattle for second place. As it stands, unless New York, Salt Lake, Seattle and Portland all collapse down the stretch the Supporter's Shield might just be out of KC's reach.

*We'll get more into that result later this week. While I've been generally positive and optimistic this year about Kansas City's style of play and inconsistency, there is a discussion to be had about counter attacks, crossing and a generally poor home-field performance. And now we reach the "Choose Your Own Adventure" portion of today's blog: • If you're looking for an optimistic outlook today, continue reading.
All is not lost if you're aiming for a spot in the playoffs for Kansas City. Over the next four matches, Kansas City will need to pick up six points to guarantee a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The magic number is 54. However, that number can decrease or evaporate this weekend if a few results go Kansas City's way. For example, a win for Kansas City against Columbus (on Saturday) and losses by Chicago (at D.C. United on Friday), New England (at New York on Friday) and Philadelphia (home for Toronto on Saturday) would mean Kansas City can start planning on the playoffs.* *The math: Kansas City would be on 51 points with a win. The only teams who can finish with more than 51 points in that example: New York, Montreal and Houston.

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