All along we've been watching the results of the Columbus Crew, actively rooting against the men in yellow to drop points and push D.C. United farther into the MLS playoff picture. And that hasn't changed. United's magic number is down to FOUR today when compared to the Crew. If Sporting Kansas City earns a win in Columbus this afternoon, United's return to the MLS playoffs would be all but guaranteed. The maximum number of points the Crew could collect the rest of the way would be only 54 - a number equal to United's current total, and a number that would ultimately bounce the Crew from the playoffs due to the wide separation that D.C. has established in the Goals For column.
But we haven't been watching the Houston Dynamo as closely. The Dynamo are currently in fifth place in the Eastern Conference and now have 50 points to their credit after a 1-1 draw against the Montreal Impact yesterday. With two games left for both teams, that draw has brought United's magic number down to THREE. If United wins either of its next two games, or Houston loses to either the Philadelphia Union or Colorado Rapids, a playoff spot would be clinched for D.C. because the Dynamo would not be able to eclipse United's point total.
After today we might not have to worry about magic numbers anymore. After today we might be able to start worrying about seeding instead.