Obviously the last couple games have been rough for SKC, but one reason to be optimistic about the next few months is the relative softness of our remaining schedule.
I've divided the league into teams averaging 1.46 points per game or more, and those averaging less than that (I chose this because > 1.46 gives you the ten teams currently in playoff positions plus Seattle, who sits at 1.55 ppg and has a bunch of games in hand on everybody. If there is an argument to be made against this it is that Dallas is at 1.45 ppg, but on the other hand they've looked awful lately, so I feel comfortable excluding them). So, effectively, that gives you 11 "good" teams and 8 bad" ones, somewhat arbitrarily determined.
So far, KC has played 13 games against the good teams, going 5-6-2, for an average of 1.31 ppg. KC has played 10 games against the bad teams, going 5-1-4 for an average of 1.73 ppg (the early game in Toronto is the only loss--KC has results in nine straight games against current sub-playoff teams).
Here is what remains for each of the "good" teams:
Team [vs. Good/vs. Bad]
If SKC continues to gain points against each category of team at the current rate, we would expect 17.35 points from the last 11 games, which would put Sporting at 53 points, which ought to be more than enough to make the playoffs, and really, given the relative difficulty of Philly and Houston's schedules, 53 stands a good chance to be good enough for top 3 in the East. 53 would not have been Top 3 last year (though every 53+ team made the playoffs), but last year the top of the league was better and the bottom was worse. It's also not impossible to imagine KC's "vs. bad team form" improving (for instance, if an offside call doesn't get blown in DC or Sapong doesn't get a stupid red card in Dallas, KC's numbers in that category look a lot better). The challenge, of course, will be to improve that form while also mixing in four champs league games.
Sadly, NY's schedule is pretty soft too, so if SKC wants to gain ground on first in the East, they'll have to improve their form quite a bit. If there is a silver lining, it is that NY's four games against "good" teams are probably tougher than ours (we get COL, PHI, @HOU, and @PHI; they get PHI, @SEA, and @HOU twice).
Other takeaways: NY is probably a slight Supporter's Shield favorite at the moment given their current position, their current form, and their schedule; don't be shocked if Colorado fades; the West teams all have tougher schedules because they all play each other down the stretch; and if Dempsey is going to lead Seattle on a late run to the Shield, they'll have to earn it (they still have LA twice, Portland twice, RSL and NY once apiece).