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Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

By the Numbers: How the Revolution can qualify for the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Winning four of their last five games has kept the New England Revolution in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race, but heading into the final two games of the regular season, the Revolution’s path to a postseason berth is anything but clear.

The Revs currently occupy seventh place in the East, three points back of the Philadelphia Union for the sixth and final playoff spot. They’re four points back of fifth-place D.C. United, and five points back the fourth-place Montreal Impact. All four teams have two games left on the schedule.

New England’s penultimate regular-season game is on the road against the Chicago Fire (Oct. 16), before the regular-season finale against the Impact at Gillette Stadium (Oct. 23). Unfortunately, simply winning those two games won’t guarantee the Revs a playoff spot – they need a little help.

“All we can control is what we can control, and that’s going out every weekend and winning the game, and hoping the results go our way,” said goalkeeper Brad Knighton. “They haven’t gone that way the last two weeks, but we can continue to work hard in training, and hopefully the gods are looking down on us and give us an opportunity, and we take care of our side of business.”

With all of that in mind, let’s break down the scenarios for the Revolution heading into the final two games of the season, and analyze exactly what needs to happen for the Revs to book a spot in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for a fourth straight year.

SCENARIO: Revs take six points from their final two games
RESULT: Revs qualify for the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs IF

  • Philadelphia Union take less than three points from their final two games
    OR
  • D.C. United take less than three points from their final two games
    OR
  • Montreal Impact take less than two points from their final two games

Obviously, winning the last two games of the regular season maximizes the Revolution’s chances of reaching the postseason; they could potentially pass three teams with a six-point haul.

The team to really keep an eye on here is the Montreal Impact, whom the Revs will host on the final day of the regular season. Should the Impact lose or draw at home against Toronto FC (Oct. 16), then two wins would guarantee the Revolution a place in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.

SCENARIO: Revs take four points from their final two games
RESULT: Revs qualify for the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs IF

  • Philadelphia Union take zero points from their final two games
    OR
  • D.C. United take zero points from their final two games
    AND
  • Columbus Crew SC take less than nine points from their final three games

Should the Revs slip up and take just a single point from either of their last two games, their task of qualifying for the postseason becomes quite a bit harder. In that case, they would not be able to catch Montreal, and would require either D.C. or Philadelphia to lose both of their remaining matches.

While four points would only draw the Revolution level on points with D.C. United in this scenario, New England would hold the first tiebreaker with United (overall wins). Should the Union pick up a single point, however, they’d be even on points AND the first tiebreaker (overall wins), and Philadelphia holds a heavy advantage in the second tiebreaker (goal differential).

Columbus Crew SC could also enter the fray in this scenario, as Columbus would pass the Revs with a nine-point haul from their final three games.

SCENARIO: Revs claim three points from their final two games
RESULT: Revs qualify for the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs IF

  • Philadelphia Union take zero points from their final two games
    AND
  • The Revs make up 13 goals in the goal differential tiebreaker
    AND
  • Columbus Crew SC take less than nine points from their final three games

For all intents and purposes, three points won’t be enough for the Revolution to qualify for the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. They wouldn’t be able to catch either Montreal or D.C. on points in this scenario, and they could only catch Philadelphia should the Union lose both of their remaining games. Even then, they’d be level on points AND the first tiebreaker (overall wins), and the Union currently hold a 13-goal edge on the second tiebreaker, goal differential.

SCENARIO: Revs claim zero, one or two points from their final two games
RESULT: Revs do not qualify for the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs

This is pretty straightforward. New England trail Philadelphia for the final playoff spot by three points, so anything less than that and the Revs cannot catch their nearest competitor.

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