A month and a half of not winning has brought us to this point. From competing for the conference’s top spot, to piecing together every hypothetical situation to try to figure out how we can hold on to the club’s second ever playoff appearance.
Regardless of what has happened in the last month or two, here are the scenarios for this weekend:
- Union win!
Hooray! Everything is right in the world again. The Union move to 45 points, leaving Columbus too far adrift to catch us and only a nearly impossible scenario where New England ties the Union on points and makes up more than 12 goals in goal differential in the last two weeks. The playoffs wouldn’t mathematically be in the bag, but by every logical thought, we would be in.
The question would become where do the playoff seedings shakeout. Montreal holds the last home spot for the “play-in” games and has a tough schedule with Toronto visiting while trying to keep pace at the top of the conference and then visiting New England who is still chasing a playoff spot. DC can still finish above the Union, but they have a tough game this weekend against NYC who will want to stay ahead of their New Jersey rivals at the very top of the East.
A win and the Union likely would be back in the hosting position for the play-in games and control their own destiny with their matchup with Red Bull as a possible statement game to ruin our New Jersey rivals chances at winning the East and showing that the losing ways are behind us and we’re ready to take on anyone in the playoffs!
- Union draw!
Well, it could be worse, but the out of town scores all of a sudden become a bit more important. If New England (@ Chicago) and Columbus (@ New Jersey) win their games both teams will be within striking distance on the last game day. The Union will be at risk of finishing in as low as 8th in the East.
The good news is that both New England and Columbus have equally tough games in their season finales as well. Columbus heads to New York City while New England hosts Montreal. Union fans would have to be glued to that Montreal/New England score if things turn sour against Red Bull. More good news is that even with a draw, the Union should still be within striking distance of that last hosting spot in the play-in round if Toronto and NYC take care of their business.
- Union lose!
At this point Jim Curtin is sitting in a press conference with flames all around him assuring the assembled media “I’m fine.” It is very likely in this scenario that going into the season finale that New England is level on points with the Union and it is all to play for in the last weekend. Relying on Red Bull for points is never a good idea, but we would need to make sure we at least match New England’s result against Montreal, if not beat it.
The one piece of good news is that once again Montreal and DC would not be favorites in their game this week, so even with a Union lose, we’re still in striking distance of that home play-in round playoff game. That most likely would be the positive heading in to the final week that Curtin & Co point to as their goal to play for against Red Bull.
- Bonus Scenario: None of it matters!
Of course, all of these scenarios come in to play if New England and Columbus keep winning. If Chicago pulls off an upset and Columbus drops both of their last games, it doesn’t matter what the Union do, they make the playoffs. Winning early in the season allows for this luxury. Even though there are tense moments, the Union are at least in the right position and looking to hold on, rather than hoping other games break in our favor even if we win.