On Saturday night, Sporting Kansas City travelled to Texas to face the Houston Dynamo. It seemed promising as Houston went down a man in the first half, but KC couldn’t manage to find the back of the net and the game finished as a 0-0 draw.
That draw, the second straight suffered by Sporting KC, leaves them with a maximum point total of just 43. A sum that hasn’t allowed a team into the playoffs in the last decade except once in 2016 in the Eastern Conference, in a down year, when 60 percent of the teams make it (50 percent back it now).
Despite Sporting KC being at just 31 points through 30 games, they are still technically mathematically alive for the playoffs. As mentioned above, if they win out, they can get to 43 points by winning the last four games.
On Saturday, the Portland Timbers won and put themselves clear locking the top six spots as unattainable for KC.
They are still chasing Real Salt Lake, who sit in 7th place and earned a draw against D.C. United on Saturday (DC are in a wooden spoon race with SKC as well). RSL already have 43 points. If they lose all their games and KC win all of theirs, KC would pass Salt Lake on the wins tiebreaker.
But that’s not all KC would need. Of RSL’s remaining games, they play the LA Galaxy, who are three points behind RSL with a game in hand. That means LA needs to defeat RSL, which will bring them to 43 points (at least). That would also be their 12th win (which is the most KC can get to). So then it moves to the second tiebreaker of goal differential.
Sporting KC are currently at a -18 and LA are at a +4. LA would have to be really bad down the stretch to flip those numbers (but still beat RSL). The Seattle Sounders are right there too, just a point behind the Galaxy.
It’s not going to happen.
We’ve known this for a long time, but it’s probably worth knowing what has to happen to either eliminate KC or keep them technically alive.
To Kansas City’s credit, they have changed the way they are playing knowing it’s over. They’ve played younger guys and they’ve used more subs. Hopefully we’ll see more of that over the final four games. There are plenty of guys playing for their jobs and the longest preseason in MLS history can continue as SKC build towards 2023.
At least it sounds like Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda will be back in time for preseason.