MLS By the Numbers: Four down; Four to Go
If it isn’t already obvious, this week’s magic number is: 4
Now, that said, four is much more significant this week than face value has you to believe. Four teams are left to be eliminated, yes; but four points by the Union and Real Salt Lake are what is needed to eliminate the rest of the teams. If the Colorado Rapids score only four points in their next two mtaches, FC Dallas would only need four points total to clinch the second trophy of the year. Finally, as things currently stand, the final four playoff positions are up for grabs for five teams, making Decision Day quite the spectacle.
What would it take for the final four to be eliminated from the playoffs this week?
First, the team with the worst chances, followed by the next (keep in mind that the first tiebreaker is wins, so a tie in points may still equal elimination):
Columbus Crew SC
The Crew were in threat prior to the international break, but they managed to escape what seems to be the inevitable. Now, they face a challenge with two games this week and no room for mistakes.
Columbus can be eliminated this week under the conditions that they:
Pick up four points or less in their two matches.
Win both matches, but Philadelphia wins, and DC draws or wins.
San Jose Earthquakes
The Quakes were in the same boat as the Crew, having faced elimination two weeks ago and surviving. However, they stand little chance of advancing. They could be eliminated this week if they:
Win only one of their two matches.
Pick up four points in their two matches, but Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake draw their match.
New England Revolution
The Revs’ scenario is relatively easy in comparison to Columbus, but still reliant on what happens with Philly and DC. They are eliminated if they:
Lose their match against Chicago
Draw their match, and Philadelphia draws or wins.
Wins their match, and Philadelphia and DC win, Montreal wins or draws.
Finally, the defending champions. Portland has the best chance of survival. However, they are out if they:
Lose their match against Colorado, and Sporting Kansas City drawing or winning their match.
Draw their next match, Seattle picks up one point in their two games, and Sporting Kansas City wins.
This season would be the first in MLS history that both MLS Cup finalists could be eliminated from the playoffs the following year. Can they survive until Decision Day?