Almost two weeks ago, I took a look at multiple scenarios for the Chicago Fire ending the season. After a listless 1-0 defeat at New England last night, the only scenario that has been eliminated is Chicago finishing in 1st place in the East.
Houston and D.C. United both won their games making things even worse for the Fire. D.C. United now sits one point ahead of Chicago and in 2nd place.
Current Top of the East Standings as of 10/21/2012
Last night's 3-2 defeat at the hands of D.C. eliminated the Columbus Crew from the playoffs. We now know the five playoff teams from the East but we do not know the order or seeding. In the previous playoff order article, I wrote the following:
Just for your nightmares, here is the worst case scenario where Chicago loses both of their games and the home teams win the other contending matches.
Team Points Kansas City 62 D.C. 60 New York 59 Houston 56 Chicago 56 Columbus 52
This disaster scenario would see the Fire travel to Houston and play in the First Round Knockout on October 31 or November 1. The last thing this team needs is an extra knockout game and an extra road trip. It's great that the team is in the playoffs but as this exercise demonstrates, it's crucial Chicago ends the season on a strong note.
The point totals from the worst case scenario are slightly different but the potential order of finish remains a possibility. Houston's 3-1 win over Philadelphia even increased the Dynamo's advantage in the goal-scoring tiebreaker. It's now 48 Dynamo goals to 45 Fire goals. If Chicago loses to D.C. next week, Houston defeats Colorado, and New York defeats Philadelphia, the Fire will travel to Houston on Wednesday, October 31 for the 1st Round Knockout game. That is a ghoulish prospect indeed.
Schedule for East playoff bound teams in the last week of the MLS Regular Season
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Philadelphia at Kansas City - 7:30 PM CST
Saturday, October 27, 2012
New York at Philadelphia - 12:30 PM CST
D.C. at Chicago - 3:00 PM CST
Houston at Colorado - 8:00 PM CST
Chicago could know at kick-off on Saturday whether or not they will be hosting a playoff game. If New York loses or draws to Philadelphia, Chicago is guaranteed a home playoff game win, lose, or draw against D.C. United. That game could be on October 31, November 3, November 4, November 7, or November 8 but a home playoff game the Fire would have. Thanks to 'goals scored' being the number one tiebreaker and the teams being so close, there are multiple scenarios for the Fire finishing 2nd through 5th.
The simplest one is the Fire winning next Saturday. If that happens, Chicago will host D.C. United or New York Red Bulls on November 7 or November 8. I want to see the team finish the season with a victory so here's to hoping that's what takes place.