For a moment, the Revolution looked destined to sneak into playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Yet now—even after winning four of its past five league matches—the Revs’ destiny appears hazy at best.
Late-season runs from D.C. United (undefeated since September 1) and Montreal (winners of two straight) have pushed the Revs three points below the red line with just two matches left on the regular-season calendar. The Revs have work to do if they want to play into November.
As the club attempts to claw its way back into the mix, we take a look at the current playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.
How can the Revs qualify for the playoffs?
If the Revolution defeat both Chicago (October 16) and Montreal (October 23), the club will put itself in good standing for a playoff run. In this scenario, Montreal (+5 points) would just need to lose to Toronto FC on Sunday for the Revs to claim a playoff spot.
Of course, if D.C. United (+4 points) and Philadelphia (+3 points) struggle down the stretch—and the Revolution win out—Jay Heaps’ club could also move above the red line.
If the Revs win and draw over the next two weeks, the scenario weakens, as the only path to the postseason would be a pair of losses by the Union.
If the Revs do not pick up at least four points to close the season, the club faces virtually no chance of qualifying for the playoffs.
Who has the toughest remaining schedule?
Though seated above D.C. United and Philadelphia on the Eastern Conference table, the Impact represent the likeliest club to go winless down the stretch. Mauro Biello’s crew hosts Canadian rival Toronto FC before traveling to Gillette Stadium to play the Revs. In four matches against Toronto this season, Montreal accumulated a -5 goal differential; in two matches against the Revolution, the club conceded 5 goals.
The Union, who have not won since August 27, also have a tough road ahead, closing out the season with a home match against the first place New York Red Bulls. The club hosts Orlando City SC on Sunday.
D.C. United, meanwhile, finishes on the road against NYCFC and Orlando City.
Who has a leg up in a tiebreaker scenario?
Because total wins serve as the first playoff tiebreaker, the Revs (10 wins) could leapfrog Montreal (11 wins), D.C. United (10 wins) or Philadelphia (11 wins) with a strong finish to the season. However, if the club finds itself in a tie in both points and wins, its season will almost surely come to and end, as goal differential serves as the second playoff tiebreaker. The Revs currently hold a league-worst -12 differential, at least 11 goals worse than every current Eastern Conference playoff seed.
The Revs face an uphill battle to qualify for the postseason. But if the club maintains its current run of play—and receives a little outside help—it could play into November for the fourth straight season.