The Playoff Hunt: Week 13

FOXBORO, MA - JUNE 2: Kelyn Rowe #11 of the New England Revolution celebrates a 2-0 win against the Chicago Fire at Gillette Stadium on June 2, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

It's mid-June and the New England Revolution are in the thick of the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference. Let that sink in. It's been a little while since we've had the pleasure, and excitement of a Revolution playoff hunt, and I for one cannot contain my excitement.

Each week heading into the match we're going to keep you up to date on the playoff implications it carries, as well as the impact on the rest of the league. New England only plays out of conference twice in their last 21 matches, so if the Revs are going to make a push for a playoff spot, it's going to be in their own hands.

After the jump we get you up to speed on the 2012 MLS playoff format because, let's face it, it changes every year. Once you're up to speed we're going to take a look at this weekend's match ups and break down the playoff race as it stands!

The 2012 playoff format isn't as complicated as one may think: The field remains ten teams, however instead of including wild cards from different conferences and making things difficult, the league moved to a streamlined format of just the top 5 teams in each conference. So, we will never have to see two teams in the Cup final from the same conference (NYRB "Western Conference Champions" just sounded so stupid).

The No. 4 team in each conference will then host the No. 5 team in its conference in a single-elimination game for the right to face its respective conference’s top seed in the Conference Semifinals. Also, as an added bonus, the MLS Cup will no longer be held at a neutral site, and will be hosted by the finalist with the higher regular season point total.

So, handicapping the playoff race will be a little easier from a Revs perspective, in that you no longer have to worry about wild card teams from the Western Conference. Where does New England stand? Let's take a look!

Eastern Conference

# Club PTS GP W L T GF GA GD Home Away Last 5
1 D.C. United 27 15 8 4 3 28 19 9 6-1-2 2-3-1 W-L-W-W-W
2 New York Red Bulls 26 13 8 3 2 26 18 8 4-0-2 4-3-0 W-W-W-W-T
3 Sporting Kansas City 25 12 8 3 1 17 10 7 5-1-0 3-2-1 L-L-L-T-W
4 Columbus Crew 18 12 5 4 3 13 13 0 3-2-1 2-2-2 T-W-T-W-W
5 Chicago Fire 18 13 5 5 3 15 17 -2 3-1-2 2-4-1 W-L-W-L-L
6 New England Revolution 16 13 5 7 1 18 18 0 4-1-1 1-6-0 L-W-T-L-W
7 Houston Dynamo 16 12 4 4 4 13 15 -2 2-0-1 2-4-3 W-T-T-W-L
8 Montreal Impact 12 13 3 7 3 15 21 -6 2-1-2 1-6-1 W-W-T-L-L
9 Philadelphia Union 8 11 2 7 2 8 14 -6 1-3-1 1-4-1 L-L-L-T-L
10 Toronto FC 3 10 1 9 0 8 21 -13 1-5-0 0-4-0 L-L-L-L-W

If the playoffs were beginning this weekend, the Revs would be out by a mere two points behind Columbus and Chicago, however, that can quickly change with a victory over Columbus in Foxboro tomorrow night. Important to note that Columbus has a "game in hand" over the Revs and Fire (meaning they have played one less match).

No one is hotter than D.C. United in the Eastern Conference as they've won four of their last five, and hold a slim one point lead over NYRB, who, to be fair, have TWO games in hand over Columbus. Expect the Red Bulls to overtake the first spot in the near future which is something to keep an eye on because with Sporting Kansas City sitting 9 points clear of the Revs at #3, it's looking like New England may have to play in the #4 vs. #5 "play in" match if they lock up a playoff spot.

Both Sporting Kansas City and D.C. United have matches against weaker opponents this week (Toronto F.C. and Philadelphia, respectively) so the focus for New England Revolution fans in the immediate future is overtaking Chicago and Columbus, and giving themselves a shot at a playoff spot.

New England could make big moves in the standings this weekend: Chicago plays New York on Sunday, and with the Revs taking care of business on their own at home against Columbus, New England *could* be sitting pretty all alone in fourth place.

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