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Playoff Scenarios: How The Union Can Clinch First Or Fall Into A Wild Card Spot, And Everything In Between

Getty Images for New York Red Bu

The Philadelphia Union's failure to pick up any points against the New York Red Bulls wasn't only a problem from a rivalry point of view, but also for the Union's playoff run hopes. Though Philadelphia secured a playoff berth two weeks ago against Toronto FC, the Union were hoping to win their first ever Eastern Conference title, not fall into a Wild Card playoff.

At best the Union can win the East, though that is a long shot at this point, and at worst they will finish as the third Wild Card team. Here are the ways that the Union can see their playoff future determined:

Way for the Union to win the East:

The Union can secure second place in the Eastern Conference:

  • IF Sporting win, the Crew lose or draw and Houston loses or draws. The Union hold an advantage in goal differential Columbus, and both teams would finish with 48 points.
  • IF Kansas City loses by two or more goals, Columbus draws with the Fire and Houston loses or draws. Columbus holds the tiebreaker for first place in this case, as the Crew went 2-0-2 versus SKC and the Union, but the Union hold the tiebreaker over SKC (see way for the Union to win the East).
  • IF SKC loses by two or more goals, the Crew beat Chicago and LAG beat or draw the Dynamo. Philadelphia would move past Kansas City in that scenario, once again, because of goal differential.
  • IF Houston wins, SKC loses by two or more goals and the Crew lose. The Union would once again finish ahead of Sporting because of goal differential.
The Union finish in third place:
  • IF both Sporting and the Crew win, and Houston loses or draws the Galaxy.
  • IF Sporting and the Crew both draw their opponents and Houston loses or draws.
  • IF Sporting loses by only one goal, Columbus wins and the Dynamo draw or lose.
  • IF Houston win, Columbus draws and Kansas City loses by at least two goals. Houston would finish with 49 points, Columbus with 48 points and Kansas City would have 48 points, as would the Union. Columbus has the tiebreaker on both SKC and Philadelphia, but the Union would own the goal differential tiebreaker on Kansas City, as the two teams drew each other twice this season.
A Wild Card spot would beckon for the Union:
  • IF Kansas City, the Crew and the Dynamo all win.
  • IF SKC win or draw, the Crew win or draw and the Dynamo win.
  • IF Sporting lose by only a single goal, the Crew win or draw and the Dynamo win.
A home game would happen, through finishing second in the Wild Card race:
  • IF any of the above happen, PLUS Colorado draws or loses.
A third place Wild Card spot would come about:
  • IF any of the Wild Card spot situations happen, PLUS Colorado wins.