The Full 90

Sporting KC draws closer to playoff security, could clinch berth this weekend

SKC's Dom Dwyer celebrates his second goal on a penalty kick as Toronto keeper Joe Bendik watches at the soccer match between Sporting KC and Toronto FC at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Ks August 16, 2014.
SKC's Dom Dwyer celebrates his second goal on a penalty kick as Toronto keeper Joe Bendik watches at the soccer match between Sporting KC and Toronto FC at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Ks August 16, 2014. Special to The Kansas City Star

The Eastern Conference remains a crowded battlefield, with seven teams still fighting for four spots.

Sporting Kansas City is one of those teams and, after last Friday’s draw with D.C. United, is also a little closer to security than at this point last week.

The draw clinched a playoff spot for D.C. — the only Eastern conference team to have clinched at this point — and put KC back in control of its playoff destiny.

Sporting KC, currently in third place on 46 points, sits six behind United and two behind New England. New York (44), Columbus (43), Toronto (40), Philadelphia (39) and Houston (36) are locked in a dogfight below them. Only five teams from each conference reach the playoffs.

The magic number for Kansas City is now 7 (or, reaching 53 points), since Columbus and Toronto (currently 5th and 6th in the standings) can both only earn a maximum of 52 points.

There exists a scenario that Kansas City could clinch a playoff spot this weekend.

If Kansas City beats Chicago (already eliminated from the playoffs) on Friday night AND Columbus falls to Philadelphia on Saturday, KC would clinch at least the fifth playoff spot.

A win over the Fire would put KC at 49 points; a Crew loss would drop their max points to 49, but with only 11 wins it would be impossible to match KC (14 wins) in the first tiebreaker. (Even with a win, Philadelphia can max out at only 48 points this year.)

Another scenario would be for Toronto to lose both its games this week.

Here are the schedules for the teams fighting for position. (*Already clinched)

D.C. United* (52 points, 61 max points)

@Houston (Sun.), Chicago (Oct. 18), @Montreal (Oct. 25)

Also, a road Champions League match against Tauro (Oct. 21).

New England (48/57)

@Montreal (Sat.), @Houston (Oct. 16), Toronto (Oct. 25)

Sporting KC (46/55)

Chicago (Fri.), @Philadelphia (Oct. 18), New York (Oct. 26)

Also, a road Champions League match against Saprissa (Oct. 23)

New York (44/53)

Toronto (Sat.), Columbus (Oct. 19), @Kansas City (Oct. 26)

Also, a home Champions League match with Montreal. (New York has been eliminated from the knockout stage already.)

Columbus (43/52)

@Philadelphia (Sat.), @New York (Oct. 19), Philadelphia (Oct. 26)

Toronto (40/52)

Houston (Wed.), @New York (Sat.), Montreal (Oct. 18), @New England (Oct. 25)

Philadelphia (39/48)

Columbus (Sat.), Kansas City (Oct. 18), @Columbus (Oct. 26).

Houston (36/48)

@Toronto (Wed.), D.C. (Sun.), New England (Oct. 16), @Chicago (Oct. 24)

  Comments