Saturday, October 12, 2013

Has Sporting Clinched a Playoff Birth?

Short answer, yes.

Long answer, on paper it's complicated. The MLS preview ahead of this weekend's games said that Sporting KC needed a Chicago loss or draw OR a Philadelphia loss to clinch a playoff birth. Well today Philadelphia and DC United drew 1-1 at RFK Stadium. After that game, Sporting KC put out a Tweet that they'd clinched a playoff birth.

So where's the disconnect between the MLS preview and Sporting's announcement? It comes in the tie breakers.

Currently there are three teams tied for 4th place in the East. Montreal (currently in 4th), Chicago (in 5th), and Philadelphia (in 6th) are all tied on 48 points currently, six behind Sporting KC. Montreal has three games left while Chicago and Philadelphia have two. So Chicago and Philadelphia can still finish level with KC, Montreal can finish ahead of them. So all three have a chance to tie KC. For that to happen, KC has to lose out, while Chicago and Philadelphia would have to win their final two games, and Montreal needs to win two of their three. Chicago hosts Toronto and plays New York on the road. Philadelphia travels to Montreal and hosts KC. Montreal travels to LA, hosts Philadelphia, and travel to Toronto.

So if results went that way, all four teams would be tied on 52 points. The first tie breaker for MLS is wins. If Chicago and Philadelphia win out while KC loses out and Montreal only loses to Philadelphia., Chicago, KC, and Montreal would all have 15 wins, while Philadelphia would have 14. That would knock Philadelphia out of any playoff discussion and qualify Chicago, Montreal, and KC for the playoffs. So I'm not seeing where MLS' comment about a draw not being enough came from.

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