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Updated MLS playoff scenarios ahead of tonight’s matches

Mike Petke

Officially speaking, four MLS clubs can punch their playoff tickets tonight.

The reality is that we’ll probably have one, perhaps two clubs that have gained official admittance once the evening is over. Getting each member of the foursome past the post-season velvet ropes tonight seems highly unlikely.

At least the scenarios aren’t a big tangled mess for three of the four clubs. Here’s a look at what needs to happen to beginning putting that tell-tale “x-” before a few teams in the standings, the mark that indicates “has clinched a playoff spot.”

  • How the New York Red Bulls will clinch tonight:

This scenario doesn’t need much unraveling. Any point at Red Bull Arena tonight against the New England Revolution and Mike Petke’s team will be the first of 10 to officially make it. The Red Bulls don’t need any other assistance.

  • How Sporting Kansas City can clinch tonight:

It’s a lot more muddled (not to mention difficult, in all honesty) for Peter Vermes’ team. First, Sporting Kansas City has to win at Columbus – and the Crew seems to have something special going, have won three in a row, including two on the road.

Further, SKC would need New England to tie or lose on the road and for Philadelphia to fall to lowly Toronto at PPL Park. That means three clubs must pick up points on the road (and two need to get all three points on the road) for this scenario to play out. So … ain’t gonna happen.

  • How Seattle Sounders FC can clinch tonight:

The Sounders have to win at Colorado. That’s not easy, considering the well-rested Rapids played respectively, at least, all summer.

  • How Real Salt Lake can clinch tonight:

It’s all about rallying past that U.S. Open Cup disappointment from midweek, being professional and getting the job done at home against FC Dallas. Win tonight at Rio Tinto and Jason Kreis’ young team is in. Lose, and a bad week gets that much worse.