Finals week: Taking a look at the scenarios that secure the Union its second playoff berth

Breaking down the three scenarios that push Union into playoffs

Wheeler vs. SKC header

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports Images

Even with a 2-1 weekend loss in Montreal, the Philadelphia Union’s playoff hopes are still alive.

Houston’s loss on Sunday to New York created three different ways in which the Union can make it into the postseason as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, these are the scenarios by which the Union can earn a wild card berth:

Scenario 1:

  • Philadelphia beats Kansas City at PPL Park

And:

  • New England loses at Columbus
  • Houston loses at DC United

Note: In this case, the Union would finish on 49 points, with Houston and New England ending the season on 48 points each.

Scenario 2:

  • Philadelphia beats Kansas City at PPL Park

And:

  • New England loses at Columbus
  • Houston draws at D.C. United and Philadelphia beats the Dynamo in a tiebreaker situation

Note: In this case, New England would finish on 48 points. Philadelphia and Houston would finish on 49 points and the Union would have to beat the Dynamo in either the “goals scored” or “goal differential” category. 

Scenario 3:

  • Philadelphia beats Kansas City at PPL Park

And:

  • New England draws at Columbus, Houston draws or loses at D.C. United and Philadelphia wins tiebreaker situations against both the Revs and Dynamo

Note: In this case, all three teams would finish on 49 points. However, Philadelphia would have to score at least 8 goals against Kansas City to catch up to the Revs in a tiebreaker scenario. There’s about a .000000001% chance that happens, but it’s technically possible.  

Anyway, the key parameters here are the first two tiebreakers: total wins, and goals scored.

Montreal and Chicago are uncatchable because they have 14 wins and the Union only has 12 wins. That means the Union can finish no higher than fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

Houston and New England, however, only have 13 wins, so the “goals scored” category likely will become a factor.

Heading into the final weekend, New England has 48 goals, Philadelphia has 41, and Houston has 39. The third tiebreaker is “goal differential” and right now Philly and Houston both have a (-1) in that category.

The bottom line simply is this: 

None of these scenarios matter if the Union does not beat Kansas City on Saturday afternoon.

After seeing these scenarios, what do you think? Leave a comment below and discuss.

Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at k.kinkead@hotmail.com