Saturday's 3-1 defeat to the New England Revolution did no favors in Sporting Kansas City's bid for a sixth straight playoff appearance, but ramifications could have been far worse.
Just hours after Peter Vermes' men stumbled at Gillette Stadium, the Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake suffered losses of their own. As a result, Sporting Kansas City (12-13-7, 43 points) faces a wide range of possibilities heading into the October international break. The club still has a realistic shot at a fourth-place finish and a home playoff game, but runs the risk of missing the postseason altogether with any further dropped points.
Currently the last team above the red line in the Western Conference, Sporting Kansas City has an 80.2 percent chance of making the playoffs according to Sports Club Stats. With two games remaining in the regular season, there's still plenty of work to do.
Sporting KC's magic number is 5
Unlike the four teams below them in the table, Sporting Kansas City controls its own postseason destiny. Six points from their final two games — at Real Salt Lake on Oct. 16 and home to the San Jose Earthquakes on Oct. 23 — ensures a return to the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Anything less than two wins, and Sporting Kansas City leaves it up to chance. According to Sports Club Stats, the team's playoff chances remain strong even if they finish with 47 points (99.2 percent) or 46 points (91.6 percent).
SPORTING KC: PLAYOFF CHANCES BASED ON FINISH
|Point total||Record in last 2 games||Chance in playoffs|
As was the case this weekend, Sporting Kansas City fans will be wary of Portland, Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders FC until the very end of the regular season. A home playoff game probably means finishing above each of these clubs, while a top-six outcome requires a better finish than just one of them. Here's a look at the remaining schedule for each of these teams, followed by the current Western Conference table:
Wednesday, Oct. 12
Houston Dynamo at Seattle Sounders FC (9:30 p.m. CT)
Sunday, Oct. 16
Sporting KC at Real Salt Lake (4 p.m. CT)
Colorado Rapids at Portland Timbers (4 p.m. CT)
Seattle Sounders FC at FC Dallas (4 p.m. CT)
Sunday, Oct. 23
San Jose Earthquakes at Sporting KC (3 p.m. CT)
Real Salt Lake at Seattle Sounders FC (3 p.m. CT)
Portland Timbers at Vancouver Whitecaps FC (3 p.m. CT)
Western Conference standings (through Oct. 3)
|1. FC Dallas - x||32||16||8||8||56||Clinched|
|2. Colorado Rapids - x||30||13||5||12||51||Clinched|
|3. LA Galaxy - x||32||11||6||15||48||Clinched|
|4. Real Salt Lake||32||12||11||9||45||94.8%|
|5. Seattle Sounders FC||31||13||13||5||44||98.8%|
|6. Sporting KC||32||12||13||7||43||80.2%|
|7. Portland Timbers||32||11||13||8||41||23.9%|
|8. San Jose Earthquakes||31||8||10||13||37||2.3%|
|9. Vancouver Whitecaps FC||32||9||15||8||35||Eliminated|
|10. Houston Dynamo||30||7||12||11||32||0.02%|
Playoff chances calculated by Sports Club Stats
x - Clinched playoff spot