A Post-Week 33 Look at the Philadelphia Union's Playoff Picture

Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sport

Just as great as last week's win felt, only managing a draw against DC feels as terrible. Not only is it a bit embarrassing to have dropped points to a team in the basement of the Eastern Conference, but it takes the Union's playoff lives out of their own hands. Here's a look everything that will play into the Union's chances at playoffs.

The Week That Was

3. Houston Dynamo - 47 Points, 31 Games Played
4. Montreal Impact - 46 Pts, 30 GP
5. Philadelphia Union - 45 Pts, 31 GP
6. Chicago Fire - 43 Pts, 31 GP
7. New England Revolution - 42 Pts, 31 GP
8. Columbus Crew - 41 Pts, 32 GP

Houston Dynamo 0-0 Sporting Kansas City
Not much to say about this game. It was the type of game where both teams had more to gain from a draw than a loss and it ended up they played to a boring, scoreless draw. In the end, it wasn't a game for the record books, but it did get each team a step closer to the playoffs. So, in the end, it was mission accomplished for both teams.

Montreal Impact 0-1 New England Revolution
Talking about doing what needs to be done, New England is doing everything they can to make sure their playoff hopes alive. Montreal on the other hand can't seem to right the ship as it is slowly sinking. The Impact have not won since September 8th and only have 1 point from their last 5 games. Jose Gonclaves stepped up as captain and scored the winner in this one. A horrific injury to Sene though could have a major impact on the Revs attack.

DC United 1-1 Philadelphia Union
The Red and Black may be far from the playoff picture this year, but that is not to say that they aren't impacting it. The Union were sitting comfortably with their playoff fate in their own hands, but a poor performance means they slide out of the playoff spots. It took a late Jack McInerney goal (yes, you did just read that. Seems like forever since that has been in print, right?!) to rescue that point or else it could have been even worse for the Union. Farfan earned himself a one game suspension because of yellow card accumulation.

FC Dallas 2-3 Chicago Fire
Both teams needed a win to boost their playoff chances, and it was Chicago who walked away with the points. The game looked all but over when Chicago built a 3-0 lead. Even a Kenny Cooper second half brace was not enough to keep the dream alive in big D, who are now officially eliminated from the playoff chase.

The Week That Will Be

3. Houston Dynamo - 48 Points, 32 Games Played
4. Montreal Impact - 46 Pts, 31 GP
5. Chicago Fire - 46 Pts, 32 GP
6. Philadelphia Union - 46 Pts, 32 GP
7. New England Revolution - 45 Pts, 32 GP
8. Columbus Crew - 41 Pts, 32 GP

10/16 Los Angeles Galaxy vs Montreal Impact (MLS Live)
Both strong teams full of stars who have their season sitting on the brink. The full 3 points could mean a guaranteed playoff spot, but a loss could be devastating. How will each team decide to approach this game? As a must win or a cannot lose? LA has the added difficulty of picking a roster without their international stars and injuries plaguing Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez. Best Result: Montreal lose. Not only does an LA win not hurt the Union, but a Montreal team in a deep downward spiral may leave the Union with a huge opportunity to deal them a major blow.

10/19 Montreal Impact vs Philadelphia Union (MLS Live)
It's a short turn around for Montreal who will either be riding high from a win in LA, or in full on panic mode from more dropped points. Philadelphia will look to right the ship after dropping points to DC, but will have Jack McInerney coming off an important goal for the first time since before his Gold Cup call up. Even if Montreal beats LA, a Union win in Montreal would bring these two sides level again and even on points. A win against the Union, however would mean that Montreal cannot finish below the Union this season. Best Result: MUST WIN. Absolutely, positively, without a doubt, this game cannot go any other way but a win. With that being said, a draw might be enough to give the Union back a playoff spot, depending on how the Chicago/Toronto game goes, but you don't want to be hoping for a Toronto result there.

10/19 New England Revolution vs Columbus Crew (MLS Live)
The importance of this game rides on the results of others. Even with a win by either team, the points could be in vain if other results do not break their way. Columbus is the real long shot here, but New England is trying to regroup from a heart breaking late equalizer two weeks ago and a horrific injury to Sene this past weekend. They keep regrouping and gaining points, but in the end will it be too little too late? Best Result: Draw. A Union win combined with a draw in this game would mean that Columbus are unable to catch the Union and New England is at arms length.

10/19 Chicago Fire vs Toronto FC (MLS Live)
Just as DC played a part in shaping the post season by holding the Union to a draw, Toronto should also be looking to play the part of the spoiler. Chicago is sitting in a good position for now, but only by a thread. Winning the games you should be winning, such as this one, at this time of year are massively important. After a 3 goal display this past week, Chicago will want to jump on Toronto early to make sure they put out any fight that may be left in TFC. Best Result: Toronto win. Okay, so it might be wishful thinking, but a Toronto win not only hurts Chicago, but means that Toronto take a step in giving the Union a higher draft choice with Chivas' first round pick this year.

10/20 Houston Dynamo vs New York Red Bulls
New York is coming off a bye week and will be well rested in their home stretch to trying to win the Supporters' Shield. Houston on the other hand is looking to clinch a playoff birth, so there is a lot to play for in this game. There is very little chance that this will be a boring affair as both teams could really use this win for their own purposes.Best Result: This is a really tough one for Union fans. A Houston loss helps the Union's playoff chances, but would help New York win the Supporters' Shield. A Houston win helps keep NYRB trophy-less, but puts that 3rd seed out of reach for the Union. I'm going with a draw here instead.

Bonus Fun Fact

Montreal beats LA
Philly beats Montreal
Chicago beats Toronto
Houston ties New York

If all of these results happen, there will be a 4 way tie in the Eastern Conference for 3rd place with Montreal, Philadelphia, Houston, and Chicago all sitting on 49 points. That would leave quite a few possibilities for the last weekend of MLS regular season play. Add in a New England win over Columbus and there are 5 teams separated by 1 point. If you want to try and get a grasp on how the tie breakers fall in this scenario, read Barry's great break down of each and every tie breaker category in his piece that just came out this week.

It could be one heck of a wild ride the rest of the way in. Buckle up and let's hope for lots of Dooping!

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