Sporting Kansas City will be in the Major League Soccer playoffs. That much is certain.
Not much else is settled. Heading into its season finale Sunday at Real Salt Lake, Sporting KC sits in fourth place in the Western Conference, but it can still finish anywhere from second to fifth in the final standings.
The top two seeds in the Western Conference will receive a first-round bye. The No. 3 seed will play host to the No. 6 seed in the first round, and the No. 4 seed will host the No. 5 seed. Those matchups are the one game, winner-take-all format.
So, for the scenarios …
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Second place (first-round bye)
1) Sporting KC beats Real Salt Lake; Portland loses or ties Vancouver; and Seattle loses or ties Colorado. (All three results must take place.)
Third place (first-round home game against sixth seed)
1) Sporting KC beats Real Salt Lake and one of the following two outcomes occurs: Either Portland loses to or ties Vancouver or Seattle loses to or ties Colorado.
Fourth place (first-round home game against fifth seed)
1a) Sporting KC, Portland and Seattle all win
1b) Sporting KC loses to or ties Real Salt Lake, and Houston loses to or ties Chicago
Fifth place (first-round road game against fourth seed)
1a) Sporting KC ties or loses to against Real Salt Lake, and Houston wins against Chicago
So, to sum all of those up, in more simple terms:
▪ If Sporting Kansas City wins Sunday, the worst it can finish is fourth. Therefore, it guarantees itself a home playoff match with a victory.
▪ If Sporting Kansas City loses or draws Sunday, it needs Houston to lose or draw in order to secure that home playoff match.