MLS is starting on the final stretch of the season with the league extremely tight. For Sporting Kansas City they sit in third place in the Western Conference on 40 points, just one point behind first place Seattle. At the same time, Sporting sit just five points ahead of sixth place Vancouver and seven points above seventh place San Jose. With Hurricane Harvey postponing this weekend’s game, Sporting is reduced to spectators while the rest of the league plays. Here’s a look at today’s schedule and the results that can help Kansas City.
New England at DC
What we want to happen - DC win
DC have just eight games left, and their maximum points is just nine more than KC currently have. So take points from New England who have played just 24 games (1 less than KC) will reduce New England's max points and really not hurt KC that DC picked up all three. (Really this game means almost nothing to KC as the two teams are at the foot of the Eastern Conference table, both are unlikely to be in the playoffs.
Atlanta at Philadelphia
What we want to happen - Philadelphia win
Atlanta has played the fewest games in MLS, just 23, and of their remaining 11 games (counting today), eight of them are at home. With that many games at home still to come, dropping points on the road is needed.
Dallas at Columbus
What we want to happen - Columbus win
This is a tough one to pick because while Columbus is in the Eastern Conference, there does have to be an eye on MLS Cup hosting potentially as well. In that regard you might think you'd not want Columbus to win as they sit only one point behind Kansas City in the single table standings, while Dallas is four back. The reason to lean towards a Columbus win is because while this will put them two points clear of KC, it will also be the Crew's 28th game of the season, leaving them with just six more games to play. That'll be three more than Kansas City's 25 games played. At the same time this is Dallas' last game in hand on KC and the two would be tied with 25 games played but Dallas would be four points back if the Crew win.
Vancouver at Orlando
What we want to happen - Orlando win
Orlando is still in the race for a playoff spot, but it doesn't seem extremely likely at this point for the Lions. Vancouver meanwhile is holding onto the last Western Conference playoff spot at the moment and will be playing their 25th game of the season. A loss would put the Whitecaps even on games played with KC and trailing Sporting by five points.
Minnesota at Chicago
What we want to happen - Minnesota win
Minnesota United isn't going to catch Sporting KC in the standings so them taking points off the Chicago Fire, who sit one point ahead of Kansas City in the Supporters' Shield table would be the most help to KC.
Colorado at Salt Lake
What we want to happen - Colorado win
Like Minnesota, the Rapids aren't going to be catching Sporting KC this season as they sit 18 points clear with 10 games left. Sure it is possible, but it's extremely unlikely. So like Minnesota the goal is for them to take points off teams higher in the table than them.