Is it possible for Sporting Kansas City to clinch a playoff spot this weekend? The answer is yes -- but they'll need help in three different games to do so.
First and foremost, KC would need to grab all three points from San Jose.
Beyond that, Sporting would need...
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• Chicago to lose to OR draw with Houston on Saturday...
• Columbus to lose to D.C. United on Sunday
• Portland to lose to OR draw with Vancouver on Sunday.
You might ask why it matters what happens with Portland or Chicago -- two teams who aren't even in the playoff mix right now. It has to do with maximum possible points. With 10 teams making the playoffs, a team clinches its spot only when it guarantees it can finish no worse than 10th.
If those two fall this weekend, it would mean those three couldn't earn more points for the year than KC. If Columbus were to also lose, it would mean KC couldn't finish worse than 10th -- KC split the season series with the Crew (the first tie-breaker) but have the edge in the second tie-breaker goal differential (+7 to -4).
Of course, this is all speculation and could all be for naught if San Jose wins on Saturday. Just laying the possibilities out there.
The most important thing to remember, though, is that KC controls its own destiny. Win and they're in. Lose and they're in trouble.
I've updated this from yesterday to include last night's Philly-DC game so you can see where every Eastern team stands right now in the most important metric: maximum points.Eastern Conference Standings: Maximum Points
Games remaining in parenthesis
1. Philadelphia: 55 (4)
2. DC United: 53 (5)
3. Kansas City: 53 (3)
4. Houston: 51 (3)
5. New York: 51 (4)
6. Columbus: 50 (3)
7. Chicago: 48 (4)
8. Toronto: 39 (3)
9. New England: 39 (4)