In or Out? A Post-Week 32 Look at the Union and the Playoffs

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

A win over Sporting Kansas City has brought back the optimism to the Union's playoff hopes. Let's take a look at how the rest of the conference is falling into place.

The Week That Was

4. Houston Dynamo - 43 points, 29 games played
5. New England Revolution - 40 Pts, 29 GP
6. Chicago Fire - 39 Pts, 29 GP
7. Philadelphia Union - 39 Pts, 29 GP
8. Columbus Crew - 38 Pts, 30 GP

Sporting Kansas City 0-1 Philadelphia Union
Not many people could have predicted this one. Zac MacMath continues to quietly have a great season, earning his league leading 11th clean sheet of the season. Conor Casey proved his worth and fired home a goal that not many previous Union forwards would have found a way to score. Not quite the style of win that bodes well for the playoffs, but at this point its all about collecting points in any way possible.

New England Revolution 1-1 Houston Dynamo
When all was said and done this one finished almost as equal as it could possibly get. Possession was 50.8% to 49.2%, Shots on target 3-3. Shots blocked 3-3. Passing accuracy 71%-75%. Total passes 338-331. And Will Bruin made sure that the scoreline ended 1-1. It won't make or break either team in the playoff race, but puts Houston 1 game closer to the end of the season.

Chicago Fire 2-2 Montreal Impact
With Bakary Soumare missing out due to suspension, the Fire could not hold on to an all important 3 points against Montreal. Mike Magee had the home side close to the finish before Maxim Tissot brought the sides level. Again, this isn't a result that isn't going to break either team, but it does put Montreal one game closer to the end of the season and made sure that a playoff chaser does not gain any ground.

FC Dallas 2-4 Columbus Crew
Don't look now, but Columbus is firing on all cylinders and making a late push for the playoffs. This game was never really in doubt, as Columbus raced out to a 2-0 lead in the first 17 minutes and matched Dallas goal for goal for the rest of the night. It is also good news for the Crew to get goals from Higuain, Arrieta, Oduro, and Anor all in the same game. If their offense is clicking they've got a real chance to earn the playoff spot they're looking for.

The Week That Will Be

4. Houston Dynamo - 44 Points, 30 Games Played
5. Philadelphia Union - 42 Pts, 30 GP
6. Columbus Crew - 41 Pts, 31 GP
7. New England Revolution - 41 Pts, 30 GP
8. Chicago Fire - 40 Pts, 30 GP

10/4 DC United vs Chicago Fire (NBC Sports)
After winning the US Open cup on Tuesday, it will be interesting to see what the carryover is for DC. Do they use that win as a boost themselves to a great run to end the season, or does it leave them winded? Chicago will look to take advantage of DC's busy week as they are in desperate need of points. Best Result: DC win. The red and black pose no threat to the Union's playoff hopes and a win would be massive in creating some separation between the U and Chicago.

10/4 Houston Dynamo vs Montreal Impact (MLS Live)
Now is the time for Montreal to decide their place in the Eastern Conference. A win would have them climb back among the top of the conference. A loss would mean Houston jumps over Montreal. Which Montreal Impact side will show up for this one? Best Result: With these two teams ahead of the Union in the standings it's time to hope for another draw.

10/5 New York Red Bulls vs New England Revolution (MLS Live)
Even a draw last week saw the Red Bulls pull 1 point closer to a playoff spot. New England sits just 1 point outside of the playoff positions and will need to reach down to use the thought of having to watch the Red Bulls celebrate clinching a playoff birth in front of them. Best Result: Pick your poison here. Red Bull win helps the Union most, but means they clinch a playoff spot. A New England win temporarily holds the celebrations, but could knock the Union out of playoffs for now.

10/5 Columbus Crew vs Sporting Kansas City
Kansas City will look to avoid disappointing losses two weeks in a row when they face another playoff chaser in Columbus. The Crew offense is clicking right now and they will run up against an SKC offense that couldn't find the back of the net, despite controlling play against the Union last week. Best Result: A Sporting Kansas City win would give the Union a chance to open up a 4 point lead over their playoff rivals, with only 6 points left up for grabs for the Crew.

10/5 Philadelphia Union vs Toronto FC
TFC may be long removed from the playoff chase, but they still have a part to play in shaping what teams can make the post season. Both meetings between these teams this season have ended 1-1. Can the Union find a way to win against one of the lowly teams in the league? Best Result: Other results will determine if a draw will be a good result, but at this time of year dropping points against one of the worst in the league is unacceptable. Has to be a Union win.

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