D.C. United's playoff picture

The latest scenarios in the Eastern Conference playoff race

Following last Saturday night’s thrilling 3-2 win over the Columbus Crew, D.C. United has clinched its first home playoff match since 2007. The team can finish no worse than fourth place in the Eastern Conference and can clinch second place with a win or draw at Chicago on Saturday (4pm ET, NBC Sports Network). 

All five Eastern Conference playoff spots have now been claimed, though only Sporting KC has secured its final position by earning the top seed after Wednesday's 2-1 win over Philadelphia. Below, we outline several of the possible scenarios for D.C. United as MLS heads into the final week of the regular season.

D.C. United would clinch second in the East if…
D.C. defeats or draws Chicago on Oct. 27

D.C. United would clinch third in the East if…
D.C. loses to Chicago on Oct. 27
New York draws or loses to Philadelphia on Oct. 27 OR if New York defeats Philadelphia on Oct. 27, but United’s total goals scored this season (currently 52 goals for) exceeds New York’s for the season (currently 54 goals for)

D.C. United would clinch fourth in the East if…
D.C. loses to Chicago on Oct. 27
New York defeats Philadelphia on Oct. 27 and New York’s total goals for the season exceed D.C. United’s total goals for the season

1. KC; 63 points; 34 GP 
2. DC; 57 points; 33 GP
3. CHI; 56 points; 33 GP
4. NY; 54 points; 33 GP
5. HOU; 53 points; 33 GP

NY: 54
DC: 52
HOU: 48
CHI: 45
KC: 42

KC: +15
DC: +10
HOU: +9
NY: +8
CHI: +5

Here are the remaining MLS matches for each of the four Eastern Conference teams vying for the best possible playoff seed.

DC: at CHI on Oct. 27
CHI: vs. DC on Oct. 27
NY: at PHI on Oct. 27
HOU: at COL on Oct. 27

If the season ended today, here is how the first two rounds of the post-season would shape up:

Wild Card Match (Oct. 31 or Nov. 1):
#5 HOU at #4 NY

Eastern Conference Semifinal, Leg 1 (Nov. 3 or Nov. 4):
#1 KC at #4 NY or #5 HOU
#2 DC at #3 CHI

Eastern Conference Semifinal, Leg 2 (Nov. 7 or Nov. 8):
#4 NY or #5 HOU at #1 KC
#3 CHI at #2 DC

Eastern Conference Final
Leg 1: Nov. 10-11
Leg 2: Nov. 17-18

MLS Cup final
Saturday, Dec. 1

Both the Conference Semifinal and Conference Final are total-goals aggregate series – the team with the most goals across both legs will advance. Should the teams be tied after both legs, the game would go to overtime and, if necessary, penalty kicks.