If Inter Miami wins its last five matches, it will qualify for the MLS Cup playoffs. If the Herons win out, they’ll finish with 47 points. New York City FC, currently in the ninth and final playoff spot, would finish with no more than 43 points because it has only three matches remaining, one against Miami.
D.C. United, with only three matches remaining, can total no more than 45 points. The New York Red Bulls could finish with as many as 46 points. Again, assuming Miami wins out, the Chicago Fire could finish with no better than 43 points (in this scenario they would lose one of their four remaining matches to the Herons).
Charlotte and Inter Miami play their final two matches against one another; if Miami wins out, that’s not a problem, Charlotte could earn no more than 42 points.
But let’s be realistic, La Rosanegra aren’t likely to finish by winning five straight, especially with Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba hobbled. But they have enough talent to win three, maybe four matches to put themselves in the 41-44 point range, which could be enough. Miami hosts NYCFC, Cincinnati and Charlotte, with away games at Chicago and Charlotte.
Charlotte’s the team to watch, the only other team in the hunt with as many matches remaining as Inter Miami and one more point through 29 games. The playoff race almost certainly will come down to the Herons’ road game at Charlotte on Decision Day, Oct. 21. Inter Miami has a better goal differential, -8 to -12, if it comes to that tie-breaker.
Inter Miami Playoff Chase
Points, Goal differential
10. D.C. United
11. Red Bulls NY
Key Matches Sept.30/Oct. 1
NYFC at Miami
Chicago at NY Red Bulls
Charlotte at New England
Montreal at Orlando
D.C. United at Vancouver