The Crew's playoff chances rely on them getting as hot as they can over the last three games of the season.
The Crew currently sit outside the playoff picture, a single point behind Houston and three back of D.C. United, but the league's new tiebreakers don't fall in their favor. They do lead in one category, but its the 5th tiebreaker. Essentially, Columbus needs two points to pass Houston and four to pass the United.
Taking a look at the Crew's main competition for the last playoff spot, both D.C. and Houston have some very winnable games. D.C. has a couple of road games that may trip them up, but they have a greater cushion. Houston has a a much easier schedule to close out the season. They are undefeated at BBVA Compass Stadium and have two of the East's weaker squads coming to town, before finishing with at road game in Denver
- D.C. United: 10/6: at Toronto FC, 10/20: vs. Columbus Crew, 10/27: at Chicago Fire
- Houston Dynamo: 10/6: vs. Montreal Impact, 10/20: vs. Philadelphia Union, 10/27: at Colorado Rapids
Comparatively, the Crew face one of the best sides in the league, Sporting Kansas City at home on Sunday. After the international break, they head to D.C. before finishing on Sunday, October 28th against Toronto with a prospective playoff birth on the line.
With Houston having an easy schedule to close out the season and D.C. having essentially a game cushion, the Crew can't afford to slip up. Even if Columbus finishes with 9 points in their remaining games, the 57 points may not even be enough to get them into the playoffs.
If they start dropping points, their odds of reaching the postseason drop even faster. It's reached that time, every game is a must win.
2012 MLS Playoff Tiebreakers:
- Most total goals scored: D.C. 48, Houston 44, Crew 39
- Greatest goal differential: D.C. 8, Houston 7, Crew 0
- Fewest disciplinary points: Houston 391, D.C. 443, Crew 457
- Most road goals scored: Houston 17, D.C. 14, Crew 14
- Greatest road goal differential: Crew -6, Houston -10, D.C. -11
- Most home goals scored: D.C. 34, Houston 27, Crew 25
- Greatest home goal differential: D.C. 19, Houston 17, Crew 6
- Coin toss (for 2 teams) or drawing of lots (3 or more teams): They may win this one.