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The Chase; A Post-Match Day 29 Look At The Union's Playoff Picture

A week that started with an emotionally draining 120 minute loss to Seattle in the US Open Cup Final ends with an emotionless performance in a 0-0 league draw against Houston. Not the best of weeks, but not a terrible one for the Union's playoff chances. Let's take a look at how the Eastern Conference playoff picture breaks down.

John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

Magic Number: 55

There are no teams in a spot to clinch a playoff spot this week as the 55 point mark is still out of reach of all teams. Columbus with five games to play and Toronto with six games to play are hovering on the 5th most possible points.

**Above the Line**

1. DC United - 48 Points, 29 Games Played, +11 Goal Differential

Form: L-W-D-L-D

Week that was: 2-1 Win @ Waterhouse (CCL), 3-3 Draw @ Chicago Fire

Recap: Another win in the Champions League and another point towards clinching a playoff spot is a good week for DC. Took a comeback effort to get points in Chicago after going down 2-0, but after going ahead 3-2, a draw will feel like points dropped. Could have opened up a 5 point cushion at the top of the league.

Week to come: 9/24 CCL vs Tauro (8pm, Fox Sports 2), 9/27 vs Philadelphia Union (3pm, NBCSN)

Outlook: Another busy week, but both at home will help to maximize time off for rest. A point will be enough to clinch their CCL group and that will be the first priority. The rivalry game with Philly will be their 8th game in 21 days. How much is left in the tank?

2. Sporting Kansas City - 45 Pts, 29 GP, +9 GD

Form: L-L-L-L-W

Week that was: 3-1 Win vs Saprissa (CCL)

Recap: A week off from MLS play allows for some extra rest. Their lone game of the week was a solid win against Saprissa, which gives them control of their CCL group. They are in a strong position both in the league and the continental tournament.

Week to come: 9/23 CCL vs Real Esteli (8pm, Fox Sports 1), 9/26 vs New England Revolution (8pm, NBCSN)

Outlook: A win against Real Esteli will push Sporting KC within a draw of clinching the group. A tough match up with New England will draw a tough month to a close. The Revolution will be KC's 6th game in 23 days. Not a do or die game, but would put them in a very comfortable position.

3. New England Revolution - 42 Pts, 29 GP, +1 GD

Form: W-W-W-W-L

Week that was: 0-1 Loss @ Columbus

Recap: The winning streak had to come to a close at some point. They retain the 3rd spot on the conference, but drop a chance to go tied for 2nd, and just 3 points from the top of the conference. Now they remain in the thick of the playoff picture, with a chance of going in any direction.

Week to come: 9/26 @ Sporting Kansas City (8pm, NBCSN)

Outlook: Not having to worry about CCL play allows them to come into the game fully rested against a team ending a very long and busy month. An opportunity to make a statement and start a new winning streak. A loss would drag them into the part of the playoff picture they do not want to be involved in.

4. New York Red Bulls - 41 Pts, 29 GP, +6 GD

Form: L-W-W-D-W

Week that was: 0-1 Loss @ Montreal Impact (CCL), 4-1 Win vs Seattle

Recap: The loss in CCL puts them up against the ropes. They will need 2 wins and tie breakers on their side to get out of their group now. The league form is a completely different story though. With so many games, they continue to defy the logic saying they should be tired and dropping results. An impressive win against Seattle keeps them heading in the right direction and helps in the goal differential column.

Week to come: 9/24 CCL @ FAS (10pm, Fox Soccer Plus), 9/28 @ LA Galaxy (8:30pm, ESPN 2)

Outlook: This has to be the week that their schedule catches up with them right? A must win game in El Salvador followed by a trip to red hot LA does not look like a promising week.

5. Columbus Crew - 40 Pts, 29 GP, +5 GD

Form: W-L-W-D-W

Week that was: 1-0 Win vs New England Revolution

Recap: A much needed win keeps their playoff drive going strong, holding off Philly and Toronto. If Higuain is heating up that is a great sign for YMCAFC.

Week to come: 9/27 vs Montreal Impact (7:30pm, MLS Live)

Outlook: Montreal is already eliminated and focusing on CCL, so one would imagine this a winning formula for Columbus. Don't count Montreal out though. They've showed signs of life despite their season being over.

**The Chasers**

6. Philadelphia Union - 38 Pts, 29 GP, +2 GD

Form: W-W-W-D-D

Week that was: 1-3 Loss vs Seattle Sounders (USOC Final), 0-0 Draw vs Houston Dynamo

Recap: A draining extra time loss to Seattle and a lifeless draw to Houston sees the Union drop points and make their playoff chances just a little bleaker. They just didn't look up to speed against Houston. This well could be a game they look back on and regret.

Week to come: 9/27 @ DC United (3pm, NBCSN)

Outlook: A big rivalry game against a tired opposition. Could be a game ripe for the taking with the amount of games DC have been playing this month. Can't let points slip after the last two league games.

7. Toronto FC - 37 Pts, 28 GP, -4 GD

Form: L-L-L-D-W

Week that was: 3-0 Win vs Chivas TBD

Recap: Finally broke the losing streak and showed plenty of life in a 3-0 rout. Just what the doctor ordered.

Week to come: 9/27 vs Portland Timbers (1pm, MLS Live)

Outlook: This is a tough one as both teams are in a heated playoff race. Neither team can stand to drop points, but Portland has been the more promising side this season. It would be a safe bet to expect the Western Conference team to take full points.

8. Houston Dynamo - 33 Pts, 28 GP, -17 GD

Form: L-W-W-D-D

Week that was: 0-0 Draw @ Philadelphia Union

Recap: A lackluster effort and only a lifeless and tired Philly side resulted in Houston gaining a point. Did not look dangerous and does not bode well for their playoff chances.

Week to come: 9/28 vs Chicago Fire (3pm, UniMAs)

Outlook: This is a true 6 pointer. Both teams cannot afford to lose and whichever one takes 0 points is all but done in the race.

9. Chicago Fire - 31 Pts, 28 GP, -6 GD

Form: D-W-L-D-D

Week that was: 3-3 Draw vs DC United

Recap: When you're trying to fight your way back into the playoff race and up 2-0 you're moving in the right direction. If you give up that 2-0 lead and end up with a single point, you're in trouble. Almost a huge statement for Chicago, instead a huge disappointment.

Week to come: 9/28 @ Houston Dynamo (3pm, UniMas)

Outlook: Exactly the same position as their opponent. A must win and a loss will surely be a hole too deep to dig out of.

** Eliminated **

Montreal Impact - 24 Pts, 29 GP, -18 GD