Sporting Kansas City's playoff picture has come into focus over the last 24 hours.
On Wednesday, Sporting Kansas City clinched a berth in the 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs with a 1-0 win at FC Cincinnati.
On Thursday, Major League Soccer provided an important update on the 2020 regular season schedule and playoff qualification.
Sporting Kansas City's postponed match against the Colorado Rapids will not be rescheduled, nor will other previously postponed MLS matches due to disruptions from COVID-19. As a result of the 12 Western Conference clubs concluding the regular season on Nov. 8 with an unequal number of matches played, playoff qualification will be determined by points earned on a per match basis. Tiebreaking procedures, if needed, will also be calculated on a per match basis.
So now that the path to the postseason is far more mapped out, let's quickly take a look at where Sporting KC stands and what lies ahead with a new edition of Playoff Math.
The top eight teams in the Western Conference—based on points per game—will qualify for the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs. Sporting KC is one of five Western Conference teams to have already secured a berth along with the Seattle Sounders FC, Portland Timbers, Los Angeles Football Club and Minnesota United FC.
Sporting Kansas City is currently assured of a top-six seed in the West regardless of results in the final 16 games involving Western Conference clubs in the final nine days of the regular season.
With two games remaining—Sporting hosts Minnesota United FC on Sunday then travels to Real Salt Lake one week later for MLS Decision Day on Nov. 8—playoff seeding and home field advantage during the postseason will be at stake for Sporting.
Up first is the regular season home finale this weekend and with it comes an opportunity to bring playoff soccer back to Children's Mercy Park.
With a win or draw on Sunday, Sporting Kansas City will secure a top-four seed in the West and home field advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.
A win would actually guarantee Sporting Kansas City a top-three position (SKC/SEA/POR competing for top three spots), while a draw would ensure Sporting KC can finish no worse than fourth (SKC/SEA/POR/LAFC challenging for highest four seeds) thanks to Sporting KC having the mathematical edge in the wins-per-match tiebreaker against FC Dallas and Minnesota United FC.
"I think every team’s goal in this league is to make the playoffs. That’s the standard. And then the next thing is obviously you want to try to get a home playoff game and try to get home field advantage if you can then through the playoffs," Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said after last night's road win. "Those are all the things you’re fighting for week after week and that’s what we’re fighting for. We’ve got to keep fighting here with the last couple games of the season and get ourselves to a place where we have a home playoff game and maybe some home field advantage if we can keep going on."