On Any Given Sunday
There is an old saying in the NFL that, on any given Sunday, any team can beat any other team. I had a friend from England who told me that the British equivalent of that is "Football is a Funny Game". Well, the Fire better hope the Beautiful Game gets a little funny this weekend. Looking at the schedule, the standings, and the Power Rankings, the bookmakers would not give Chicago good odds on staying in the top 5. So Who to Boo is avoiding black cats and broken mirrors and pulling out every last rabbit's foot, shamrock, and horseshoe it can find. Got a lucky shirt? Get it on because the final march to the postseason starts tomorrow.
Interestingly enough, no two games take place simultaneously so the playoff standings will evolve gradually throughout the weekend. There are numerous scenarios where teams will finish with the same number of points. In that case, the criteria for separating the teams are:
1. Most Wins
2. Goals For
3. Goal Differential
4. Fewest Disciplinary Points
5. Road Goals
6. Road Goal Differential
7. Home Goals
8. Home Goal Differential
9. Coin Toss (2 teams) or Drawing of Lots (3 or more)
|1||x - New York Red Bulls||56||33||1.7||16||9||8||53||39||14||29||15||24||-1|
|2||x - Sporting Kansas City||55||33||1.67||16||10||7||45||29||16||29||14||16||2|
|5||New England Revolution||48||33||1.45||13||11||9||48||38||10||29||13||19||-3|
Kansas City @ Philadelphia, (10/26, 2:00pm), NBCSN
Who to boo: Philadelphia
Even though they've already clinched a top-two spot, the Sporks still have a shot at overtaking NY for top seed in the East, so there is strong incentive for them to get full points in Chester. Philadelphia must win to get itself momentarily above the red line. But, they also need 4 goals to unseat the Fire. This is a good game for a curtain raiser but probably not that important in terms of taking Chicago out of the playoff picture.
Montreal @ Toronto, (10/26, 3:00pm), MLS Live/DirectKick
Who to boo: Montreal
This is a very important game for the Fire. A Toronto victory opens up the possibility of the Fire finishing third in the table. This is huge because they would avoid wild card the play-in game only three days later or, maybe just as bad, on Halloween. Anyone present at last year's debacle vs. Houston will really be rubbing that lucky penny smooth during this game.
Houston @ DC United, (10/27, 12:30pm), NBC
Who to boo: Houston
The Dynamo did not help themselves last week in their final home game. There is a possibility that a draw in this game would be enough to get them 5th place. But that requires help from Columbus. So Dominic Kinnear needs his squad to finish off strong before they spend the rest of Sunday watching other teams decide their fate. Fortunately for the Fire, DC will NOT be simply playing out the schedule as they will be fighting hard to avoid setting a record for MLS futility.
New England @ Columbus, (10/27, 3:00pm), MLS Live/DirectKick
Who to boo: New England
If the Philadelphia and Houston games finish as hoped for, the late afternoon games will have New England and Chicago jockeying for playoff position. The Revs kick off first. Columbus gave them a game last weekend so there is every possibility that the visitors may accidentally walk under a ladder or two on their way out the tunnel.
Chicago @ New York, (10/27, 4:00pm), My50, UniMas
Who to boo: Really? You need an answer? Ok, fine - New York
And last but not least. Although the Fire have put together a good little run this month, a bad bounce here or there in the last few games and the Fire would be out and there may have been renewed calls for the head of the wicker man. Mike Petke isn't giving the Fire any bulletin-board material this week. They're going for the Shield, and by kickoff will know if a tie is enough to secure their first piece of hardware.
Adding more drama is that this could be the game that gives Tim Cahill or Magic Mike a leg up in the MVP race. I claim that Frank Klopas' first big decision will be sartorial in nature. Because New York wears white at home, Chicago could opt to wear their home reds for this game. But, they've won 3 in a row wearing the blue kits. Who to Boo asks that they not tempt fate.
Hey, it's only weird if it doesn't work.