The Thin Red Line: Points at a premium in October as postseason push rolls on

Keeping an eye on this week’s big matches in the East playoff race

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Not much went the Revolution’s way in the results department last weekend.

Both the Philadelphia Union and Columbus Crew grabbed crucial victories away from home, while the Chicago Fire took a point off the Montreal Impact to remain right on the Revolution’s heels entering October. Granted, it could’ve been worse had Mike Magee not missed a late penalty and Maxim Tissot not scored at the death to prevent the Fire from winning … but it could’ve been better, too.

Of course, the most disappointing result of the weekend was the Revolution’s own draw with the Houston Dynamo, which not only allowed Houston to tighten its grip on fourth place, but also provided the opening for Philadelphia to leapfrog the Revs into fifth.

But it’s a new week and New England will have the chance to climb right back into a playoff spot with a positive result on Saturday night against the New York Red Bulls – provided other results around the league fall favorably.

Friday, Oct. 4
D.C. United (3-21-6, 15 pts.) vs. Chicago Fire (11-12-7, 40 pts.)
RFK Stadium, 8 p.m. ET
NBC Sports Network

There are two trains of thought following D.C. United’s shocking triumph in Tuesday night’s U.S. Open Cup final. Either Ben Olsen’s side will be physically and emotionally spent after putting everything into winning a title, or they’ll be buoyed by the victory and press on with confidence through the end of the season.

For the Revolution’s sake, let’s hope it’s the latter. Chicago sits just one point back of New England entering this weekend and any kind of result for the Fire could see them climb the standings.

There’s no question this is a big one on Friday night, and you can catch it on NBC Sports Network.

Friday, Oct. 4
Houston Dynamo (12-10-8, 44 pts.) vs. Montreal Impact (13-9-7, 46 pts.)
BBVA Compass Stadium, 8:30 p.m. ET
MLS LIVE

Last weekend’s draw at Gillette Stadium allowed the Dynamo to maintain a three-point lead over the Revolution, but Dominic Kinnear’s side remains within striking distance even as Houston clings to fourth place. It’s as simple as this: a Revs win, combined with a Dynamo loss, would see the Revs vault the Dynamo in the standings based on tiebreakers.

The Impact provided a bit of help for the Revolution last weekend by going into Toyota Park and drawing the Fire, and a similar performance on Friday night at BBVA Compass Stadium would be welcomed.

Saturday, Oct. 5
Columbus Crew (12-14-5 41 pts.) vs. Sporting Kansas City (14-10-6, 48 pts.)
Columbus Crew Stadium, 7:30 p.m. ET
MLS LIVE

One month ago few would’ve believed the Crew would be serious contenders come October, but a 4-1-0 run through September has seen Columbus climb into a sixth-place tie with the Revs.

New England does have the benefit of a game in hand on Columbus, and the two sides will battle it out in a home-and-home set to close the regular season, but still Revs fans should be pulling for Sporting KC to put an end to the Crew’s fine run of form on Saturday night.

Saturday, Oct. 5
Philadelphia Union (11-10-9, 42 pts.) vs. Toronto FC (5-15-11, 26 pts.)
PPL Park, 7:30 p.m. ET
MLS LIVE

Conor Casey’s first-half goal put an end to both the Union’s 345-minute scoreless streak and a five-game winless run in last weekend’s 1-0 win over Sporting KC. With that, Philly slipped into the Eastern Conference’s fifth and final playoff spot.

If the Revs are going to catch the Union this weekend, they’ll need to not only take care of their own business against New York, but hope TFC can pick up a result at PPL Park.