The Full 90

The Great Playoff Race: Where Sporting KC stands right now

Sporting Kansas City didn't book a spot in the playoffs -- yet. The 1-1 draw with San Jose -- plus wins by Columbus and Portland yesterday -- means KC will have to wait another week (or almost two) before making November plans.

But they still are a team that controls their own destiny.

There will be some tense moments the next 13 days, for sure. Many of the teams locked in the race with KC -- Philadelphia, D.C. United, Chicago, Houston, Colorado, Dallas and Portland -- will be in action before KC's next game on Oct. 15. But none of those results can secure or doom Sporting's chances. (Before each MLS game down the stretch, The Full 90 will let you know what the best-case scenario is for the Sportos.)

Here's how things stand as of right now in the Eastern Conference ranked by points-per-game.

Eastern Conference Standings


Team: Points | Games | W-L-T | Goal Differential | Points Per Game

1. Philadelphia: 44 | 31 | 10-7-14 | +7 |

1.419


2. Kansas City: 45 | 32 | 11-9-12 | +7 |

1.406

3. Columbus: 44 | 32 | 12-12-8 | -3 |

1.375

4. Houston: 43 | 32 | 10-9-13 | 0 |

1.343

5. New York: 40 | 31 | 8-7-16 | +5 |

1.290

6. D.C. United: 38 | 30 | 9-10-11 | 0 |

1.266

7. Chicago: 37 | 31 | 7-8-16 | 0 |

1.193

8. Toronto: 31 | 32 | 6-13-13 | -23 |

0.969

9. New England: 27 | 31 | 5-14-12 | -16 |

0.871

It looks like 45 points might be the cut-off for the playoffs Coincidentally, that's exactly the number of points KC is sitting on. But that's not a guarantee and slipping from pole position to barely-in is a situation that Kansas City would like to avoid.

If the playoffs started today (based on points), Kansas City would win the East, Philly would finish second and Columbus third. Out West, LA would win the Supporter's Shield with Seattle and Salt Lake in second and third. The four wild cards would be (in order), Dallas, Colorado, Houston and New York.

Toronto and New England this weekend joined Vancouver as the only three teams officially eliminated from playoff contention.

If you're looking for Kansas City's "magic number" for playoff contention, you'll have to examine the maximum points available for each team -- including those from the West mired in the wild-card hunt.*

*Each conference gets three automatic berths and the wild cards are awarded to the four teams with the highest point totals regardless of conference.

Here are the MLS standings based on the maximum points each team can still earn this season in a single-table format -- excluding the eliminated teams.

MLS Standings

Team: Maximum points possible (games remaining)

1. Los Angeles: 73 (3)



2. Seattle: 66 (3)



3. Salt Lake: 60 (3)



4. Dallas: 55 (3)



5. Philadelphia: 53 (3)



6. Kansas City: 51 (2)



7. Colorado: 51 (2)



8. Columbus: 50 (2)



9. DC United: 50 (4)



10. Houston: 49 (2)



11. New York: 49 (3)



12. Portland: 49 (3)



13. Chicago: 46 (3)



14. Chivas: 42 (2)



15. San Jose: 41 (3)

My best guess would be that KC's magic number is 49 -- a win and a draw. A win over New York would drop New York's potential point total to 46. Also, Houston and Portland play each other, meaning both can't end up with 49.

Thus, at worst -- meaning every other team wins maximum points -- Kansas City would finish in a tie with either Houston/Portland. KC owns the tie breaker (head-to-head performance) over both.

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