A new feature that I'm going to do on each MLS game day as the season begins to wind down. I'm going to look at the other MLS games that are occurring on that match day and see what the better result for Sporting KC would be in that game to assist in their chances of making the playoffs.
The only other league game tonight besides Sporting KC vs Columbus is Real Salt Lake hosting the Chicago Fire. RSL is currently 10 points up on KC, with a game in hand, while Chicago is 8 points behind the Wizards, also with a game in hand.
What we want to happen tonight: Real Salt Lake Win
RSL is likely to get one of the Western Conferences 3 automatic qualifying spots as they are 5 points clear of Dallas and have a game in hand on them as well. So the potential worry of KC having to travel to Rio Tinto for a wild card qualifying game seems extremely small. On the other hand, the Chicago Fire have recently been one of the hotter teams in MLS. They've won 4 of their last 5 regular season games that have helped them move into the playoff chase. With them 8 points back and a game in hand, a win by RSL is important for KC to keep Chicago from being able to potentially close the gap.
The good news is that the Fire's 4 wins during their stretch have all come at home. They lost their only road game during that stretch, to San Jose 2-0. Combine that with Chicago's 1-6-7 away record vs RSL's stellar 10-2-3 home record and RSL should be able to pull off the win. Combine that with a potential home win by KC tonight and that would put the Wizards 11 clear of the Fire with them having 4 games to play, meaning they'd have to win out and KC would only be able to pick up a point in the final 3 games to force a tie on points, which the Fire would win on the head-to-head tiebreaker (KC has a loss and a draw vs Chicago this year).