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Seven Games Remain: Home Playoff Match Slipping Away For Toronto FC

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Each week Sven87 breaks down the Eastern Conference playoff race, with a special emphasis on Toronto FC, and how each match relates to their quest for a first ever playoff spot.

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Well that was a weekend to forget for Toronto FC fans. Watching your club blow a home fixture that could have essentially generated a favorable six-point swing is never easy as a supporter. With TFC's 3-1 home loss to New England, the Reds now find themselves 6 points back of fourth, only 5 points up (but with two more games played) from the 6th place Montreal Impact.

But what else happened this past weekend- which other teams in the top 7 moved around, and how did their results influence TFC's playoff aspirations?

Position Club Points PPG GP W L T GF GA GD
1 New York Red Bulls 45 1.73 26 13 7 6 46 30 16
2 D.C. United 45 1.55 29 13 10 6 36 35 1
3 Columbus Crew 44 1.52 29 12 9 8 47 48 -1
4 New England Revolution 43 1.54 28 12 9 7 41 37 4
5 Toronto FC 37 1.37 27 11 12 4 46 47 -1
6 Montreal Impact 32 1.28 25 9 11 5 34 37 -3
7 Orlando City SC 32 1.1 29 8 13 8 36 51 -15
8 Philadelphia Union 30 1.03 29 8 15 6 36 47 -11
9 New York City FC 28 1 28 7 14 7 39 48 -9
10 Chicago Fire 27 1 28 7 15 6 36 45 -9

The team above New England, the 3rd place Columbus Crew, managed a win on the road against the Philadelphia Union to increase their point haul to 44 points in 29 matches played. Just above the Crew sit DC United in 2nd place, a club that only managed a draw on the road in Colorado this past weekend. With the tie, DC are now only one point above Columbus (with 45 overall). TFC are now a full seven points back of Columbus and eight back of DC, but with two games in hand on each.

Behind TFC, the aforementioned Montreal Impact managed an impressive result on the road in Los Angeles, holding the Galaxy and their DP firepower to a scoreless draw on the west coast. With the point, the Impact are now 5 back of TFC, with two games in hand on the Reds.

Below the Impact and just outside the playoff picture sit Orlando City SC. With an impressive Kaká-less 3-1 home victory (and Bryan Rochez's first goal) against slumping Sporting Kansas City, Orlando is now tied with the Impact points-wise, just 5 back of Toronto FC. However both TFC and the Impact have games in hand on Orlando, with the latter having played two more matches than the Reds and 4 more than Montreal.

Putting the weekend in the past (which is what Greg Vanney's men need to do), the week ahead looks very promising for Toronto FC. TFC fans should be excited for Wednesday, with three big mid-week fixtures potentially impacting the Reds' playoff hopes.

Toronto will visit expansion side New York City FC in a winnable away encounter. The Revolution also play an evening match on Wednesday, hosting first-place New York Red Bulls in a game that could very well result in a victory for the visiting side.

As those two matches conclude, Montreal will kick off their late night away game in San Jose. While the Earthquakes have been hot and cold so far this season, Avaya Stadium has proven a difficult stadium for visiting sides to find success- see San Jose's 1-0 home victory against the Galaxy two weeks ago for evidence.

This coming weekend also includes multiple matches relevant to the Eastern Conference playoff picture. DC United will play host to Columbus Saturday evening, a game which could very well provide the victor with the push they need to secure 2nd spot (while helping TFC gain ground on the losing side). In another win-win (but not really) game for Toronto, Montreal will host the Revolution on Saturday. Should the home side come out on top, TFC pulls closer to the Revs, while if New England pulls off the away victory, TFC distances themselves from 6th place Impact.

One final game on the weekend that TFC fans should be aware of involves 7th place Orlando City. The Chicago Fire will host Orlando Saturday night- and with the Fire still reeling from giving up a 2-0 lead in their loss to the New York Red Bulls this past weekend, they may find the motivation to finish off the Lions.

With Toronto FC hosting the Colorado Rapids, a team currently outside of the top 6, this coming Saturday afternoon, a 6 point week should be the goal for the Reds. Wins in New York and then at BMO Field would rejuvenate talk of a home playoff match for TFC.

One positive that came out of this past weekend's fixtures is that the magic number of points for TFC to clinch a playoff spot has now decreased. 7th place Orlando can now only accumulate 47 points from winning through, and no team below them can achieve a better final standing.

In fact, should TFC and OCSC both make it to 47 points, Toronto would likely (beside the one scenario with 2 wins and 4 draws) have more wins than Orlando and therefore still end up taking the last playoff position. To lock up their first ever postseason berth, Toronto FC only need 10 more points over their 7 remaining matches.

Of course as Toronto FC fans, we should all know by now that on any given week, MLS is highly unpredictable. So let's make some predictions. If for no other reason than to see how much of an impact one week could, in theory, have on TFC's position in the East. And of course, because it's fun to make bold forecasts that are highly unlikely to occur.

Should TFC win both matches this week, and the following results go Toronto's way-

NYRB beat NER on Wednesday
SJ holds MTL to a draw at Avaya
CLB beats DC
MTL beat NER at Saputo
Chicago beats OCSC at home

This is what the Toronto-relevant standings would look like come Sunday morning:

Position Club Points PPG GP W L T
2 Columbus Crew SC 47 1.57 30 13 9 8
3 D.C. United 45 1.5 30 13 11 6
4 Toronto FC 43 1.48 29 13 12 4
5 New England Revolution 43 1.43 30 12 11 7
6 Montreal Impact 36 1.33 27 10 11 6
7 Orlando City SC 32 1.07 30 8 14 8

Of course this assumes two Toronto FC wins and two New England losses- while TFC has a significantly easier schedule than the Revolution this week, that type of forecast still involves some very optimistic assumptions. Regardless, here's hoping... until next week!