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Are the playoffs still within reach for the Revolution? Barely

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Despite a successful, two-game road trip, New England’s playoff prospects remain grim

MLS: New England Revolution at Philadelphia Union Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

A road win over a top-shelf New York City FC squad, and then a road draw vs Cup-contending Los Angeles FC. That’s four points in two matches away from home. That’s a good haul, right? Well, it is during the beginning or middle of the season when much isn’t on the line. However, at the end of the season when you’re in eighth place and sitting six points from a playoff spot with just six matches remaining, it’s far less satisfying.

And that’s where the New England Revolution find themselves at they approach the end of summer. Dropped points, home or away, probably aren’t going to cut it any longer if the Revs hope to return to the MLS playoffs for the first time in three years.

It can’t be that bad, can it? I mean, it’s only six points (actually five for a tie, but we likely lose a tiebreaker), and we have three home matches left, two against teams whose seasons are essentially over. Surely we still have a decent chance at November soccer, right?

Well, let’s cut to the chase and project likely or expected results for the teams around us in the standings over the final six weeks of the season and go from there:

4th place - Columbus Crew SC:

Currently — 44 points

@ Portland - D

v Colorado - W

v Philadelphia - D

@ Montreal - D

@ Orlando City - W

v Minnesota - W

Projected Finish — 56 points

5th place - Philadelphia Union:

Currently - 40 points

@ Seattle - L

v Sporting KC - D

@ Crew SC - D

v Minnesota - W

v NYRB - D

@ NYCFC - D

Projected Finish - 47 points

6th place - Montreal Impact:

Currently - 39 points

v NYCFC - D

@ DC United - L

v Crew SC - D

v Toronto FC - W

@ New England - D

Projected Finish — 45 points

7th place - DC United:

Currently — 35 points

v Montreal - W

v Chicago - W

v FC Dallas - D

v Toronto FC - W

v NYCFC - D

@ Chicago - D

Projected Finish — 47 points

9th place - Toronto FC:

Currently — 30 points

@ NYRB - L

v New England - D

v Vancouver - W

@ DC United - L

@ Montreal - L

v Atlanta United - D

Projected Finish — 35 points

OK, so the top three from the above teams will make the postseason. Assuming the projections hold, Columbus, Philadelphia and DC United would be in line for the final three Eastern Conference playoff spots.

What about New England? Well, since the Union and DC United would each end up with 47 points if the expected results come true, the Revs would need 48 points to steer clear of any tiebreakers that might not go their way. That’s how many points they would need to grab an Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Currently standing at 34 points, the Revolution must gain 14 more points from six matches to reach a total of 48 for the season. Here’s the remaining slate of matches and expected results:

v Chicago - W

@ Toronto FC - D

@ Atlanta United - L

v Orlando City - W

@ Real Salt Lake - D

v Montreal - D

Projected Finish — 43 points

To reach 48 points, New England would need to defeat the Impact at home (not draw them), which means winning all of their three games left at Gillette. This isn’t a rubber stamp, as the Revs are only 6-4-4 at home this season.

They would also need to gain three additional points from their road matches. The expected 0-1-2 record above wouldn’t be good enough. They would need to turn one of the draws into a win, and then also earn a draw vs Atlanta. Or, assuming any result in Atlanta is out of the question, the Revs would need road wins from trips to Toronto and Salt Lake City. With only a 2-6-6 road record in 2018, this would seem to be a tall task as well.

Anything is possible, of course. The expected results for the aforementioned teams could turn out much differently. One or more teams could hit a bad run of form. One or more teams could hit a good run of form, as well. DC United and Wayne Rooney have already been filling one of those positions. Montreal seems primed to occupy another.

New England doesn’t have a choice in results if they want to experience postseason soccer for the first time in three years. They must embark on a solid run right now.

Even so, the sobering reality is that a strong finish to the season still might not be good enough to land a playoff spot in 2018.