After a disappointing game on Wednesday night against New York City FC, Sporting Kansas City find themselves back in the spectator position ahead of their game tomorrow against the Columbus Crew. With eight games today in MLS there is certainly a lot to watch out for in terms of playoff positioning in the West and potential MLS Cup hosting in the East. Here’s a look at what KC fans should be looking to root for today in MLS.
New York at Chicago
What we want to happen - Draw
A match up of two Eastern Conference teams, the Chicago Fire are four points clear of Kansas City but have played one more game. The New York Red Bulls are even on points and have played the same number of games as KC. A draw here keeps Kansas City within touching distance of both teams to pass them in the single table and potential MLS Cup hosting.
San Jose at Toronto
What we want to happen - Toronto win
Toronto FC is 16 points clear of Kansas City at the top of the MLS Supporters' Shield standings. Catching Toronto just isn't going to happen for Kansas City. On the other side of things, the San Jose Earthquakes are just four points behind Kansas City (having played one more game) and currently sit below the red line in the Western Conference. San Jose dropping points to keep them from closing the gap with KC to a single point is more important here than the extremely unlikely possibility of KC somehow catching the Reds.
Portland at NYCFC
What we want to happen - NYCFC win
At this point New York City FC, like Toronto are more or less out of reach for Kansas City barring a collapse by the New York City team. With that in mind the focus then needs to be on the Western Conference. And while Portland has played two more games than KC, they are still ahead of them in the table. And points already earned are better than games in hand. So KC want NYCFC to take care of business against the Timbers, allowing Kansas City the opportunity to jump back ahead of them tomorrow.
Orlando at DC
What we want to happen - Does not matter
Here you have the 10th and 11th place teams in the Eastern Conference going head to head. Neither is likely to make a run to get into the playoffs with so many teams in between them and the red line to get in. So in that case this game doesn't matter to Kansas City teams. (Unless one of the incentives of the Dom Dwyer trade was him scoring, in which case, root for Dwyer to get off the mark for Orlando.)
Montreal at New England
What we want to happen - New England win
The Montreal Impact's chances of making the playoffs aren't great, while they're tied with sixth place Atlanta United, Atlanta has played two fewer games than them right now, and while they have a busy schedule Atlanta are certainly the favorites for that spot. That said, keeping them from closing the gap with KC should they make the playoffs is important. In that case root for New England to get another home win.
Philadelphia at Minnesota
What we want to happen - Does not matter
Like the Orlando and DC game, this game doesn't really matter for KC. The Philadelphia Union are on 31 points, but are ninth in the East right now while Minnesota United is in 10th in the West on 25 points. Neither one is going to catch Sporting in the standings so this game really doesn't matter for Sporting's playoff chances.
Colorado at Houston
What we want to happen - Colorado win
The Colorado Rapids are in last place in the West and has the fewest points in all of MLS at this time, they're not going to be catching Kansas City this season (their max points is only four more than Kansas City currently has). The Houston Dynamo meanwhile can jump ahead of Sporting should they win and KC not win in Columbus. So as unlikely that it is that Colorado get their first road win of the season in Houston, that's what KC fans want to happen.
Salt Lake at Vancouver
What we want to happen - Salt Lake win
This one I almost wanted to call a draw because of the fact that a Salt Lake win puts them, the eighth place team in the Western Conference, on 38 points, only two behind Kansas City. At the same time though, this is RSL's 29th game of the season. After tonight they'll only have five games left the rest of the way to close the gap and jump into the playoffs. At the same time, the Vancouver Whitecaps have played one fewer game than KC and sit just two points back, putting them much closer to KC. So while I still lean towards a draw at times, and it certainly wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if it does happen, go for the RSL win.