Tonight's MLS match between Portland and D.C. United has no real playoff implication for Sporting Kansas City. The "where will KC wind up in the playoffs" matrix is more affected by tomorrow's games.*
However, a Portland win would eliminate United from contention.
Which would mean United have nothing to play for against Kansas City on Saturday at RFK. Even with D.C.'s recent struggles, they're still a dangerous team. The more they have to play for, the more dangerous they become. (Plus, it's really hard to root against Jack Jewsbury.)
The match kicks off at 7 p.m. on Direct Kick and Match Day Live.
*This is as simple as I can make it: Sporting Kansas City can wind up anywhere from first in the East -- with two potential games at Livestrong -- to the third wild-card slot -- and no guaranteed game at Livestrong. There are four games that can directly influence KC's position this week, not counting their own: New York vs. Philly on Thursday; Vancouver vs. Colorado and Chicago vs. Columbus on Saturday; and Los Angeles vs. Houston on Sunday. There are three possible outcomes in all of those games, each affecting Sporting differently. If you feel like getting a brain cramp, you can click here and read all the scenarios.It's not just confusing to the people who are trying to follow, it's confusing to the people involved directly. When I, jokingly, asked a person who knows about these sort of things what KC needed to happen in each game to clinch first place, he told me he'd get back to me on Sunday night.