The MLS weekend gets a nice jump start tonight with two big games with serious playoff implications -- including a game that could help determine where Sporting Kansas City might land. Or, more importantly, might decide where KCcan't
The Rube Goldberg domino-chain starts at 9:30 p.m. By this time tomorrow, Kansas City might (might) have a Top 3 spot in the east locked up. Or the machine might keep going until next week.
Here's what you should hope for in tonight's action.
The West means little to Sporting -- if they win tomorrow against New York. If KC fails to win, they could tumble into the wildcard spots and the West very much comes into play. If the Rapids lose, they'll stay level on points with Kansas City. Thanks to a superior goal differential, KC would have the tiebreaker over Colorado -- should it come to that.
Should this game end in a draw, both teams would be mired in a dog-fight for the third spot in the West. It also wouldn't hurt Sporting one bit. I think a draw would be more interesting -- wouldn't you love to see Dallas, Salt Lake and Colorado fighting until the last minute of the season for a spot and, thus, probably tiring themselves out?
The game is on ESPN2 at 9:30 p.m.A Portland win over Houston -- or at least a draw
Here's how KC can clinch a Top 3 spot in the East: Beat New York tomorrow, and then either Columbus loses or draws with New England
the Timbers win or draw against Houston. (Thanks to reader Tim for pointing out that KC only needs Columbus to lose/draw OR Houston to lose/draw for KC to clinch.)
In that scenario New York and Houston couldn't finish with more points than KC; with a draw, Columbus could finish level on points with KC but would have to turn over a 7-goal difference.
Finishing in the Top 3 of the East has to be the priority. Kansas City can't come this far and fall into the wildcard mess. That would be a devastating blow. Plus, it could potentially deprive KC of a playoff game at Livestrong Sporting Park.* So, go with the Timbers.*Just so you know the stakes. If KC were to finish behind Dallas or Colorado -- thus, the third or fourth wildcard -- they would play a one-off game at the higher seed's stadium. As usual in the MLS, anything can happen in a one-off series.
This game is at 9:30 p.m. and is on Direct Kick/Match Day Live.