Nogueira vs. Chicago
Greg Carroccio

Draw makes playoff aspirations tough, but not completely out of focus for Philadelphia

A gut wrenching draw Thursday night may have shrunken playoff hopes for the Union, but this team is not eliminated. Heading into the game against Chicago, the fact was the Union could afford to draw one of their remaining four games so long as they could win the other three. Of course, now the Union have zero margin for error with three games left and are going to need some help along the way.

In any case, they are not out yet. Updated today, SportsClubStats.com listed the Union’s playoff odds at 8.3 percent, down last night from 16.7.

Let’s take a look at today’s updated magic numbers. For an explanation of these, check out our original post from Wednesday.

Team

Games Left

Points

Max Points

Magic Number

Magic Number Max

D.C. United

4

51

63

3

27

New England Revolution

4

45

57

9

27

Sporting Kansas City

4

45

57

9

27

Columbus Crew

4

43

55

11

27

Toronto FC

5

40

55

14

27

________________________ ______ _______ ________ ____________ ______________

New York Red Bulls

4

41

53

15

27

Union

3

39

48

17

24

Houston Dynamo

5

36

51

20

30

Chicago Fire

4

32

44

24

27

Montreal Impact

4

24

36

Eliminated

 

Considering the Union were the only game in MLS Thursday night, their magic number actually decreased despite the disappointing result. Unfortunately, the more important number that decreased was their max. Heading into yesterday’s game, the Union needed to pick up 18 points from their remaining four games (a max of 12) combined with Toronto dropping points in their remaining five games (a max of 15).

Now, even if the Union were to win out, they would need Toronto to drop eight points. Yesterday, that number was six. (Note: this isn’t just about Toronto. As previously mentioned, the Union would obviously need to stay ahead of Houston while jumping New York, as well as Toronto – or some other team above the playoff line.)

With all that said, here is a possible road map for the Union to reach the playoffs:

Wins over Columbus (twice) and Sporting Kansas City

...and three (3) of the following four (4) scenarios:

One (1) Columbus loss or tie

One (1) Houston loss and one (1) tie

Three (3) Toronto losses OR two (2) Toronto losses and one (1) tie

Two (2) New York losses

Finally, here is an updated list of the magic number for the Union to pass each respective team on the following list:

Team

Games left

Head-to-head

Magic Number

New England Revolution

4

0

19

Sporting Kansas City

4

1

19

Columbus Crew

4

2

17

Toronto FC

5

0

17

New York Red Bulls

4

0

15

Houston Dynamo

5

0

13

Chicago Fire

4

0

6

While things are looking dire for the Union, they cannot be eliminated this weekend, regardless of any MLS result this weekend. So, tune in to all of the league action and be sure to root for the following results:

United win over Sporting Kansas City (8 p.m., NBC Sports Network)

New England win over Columbus (7:30 p.m., watch via MLS Live)

Galaxy win over Toronto (10:30 p.m., ESPN2)

Tie between New York and Houston (6 p.m., NBC Sports Network)

Will you be watching this weekend? Leave a comment below and let's discuss.

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