As was said in the recap of Saturday’s game with the Chicago Fire the New York Red Bulls did yet again have to settle for a draw on Saturday night, lucky number 13 on the season, but Satruday's draw holds more meaning with the Red Bulls having only nine games remaining. In the MLS the playoffs are determined by the top eight point totals in the league, so one conference can have more teams represented in the playoffs than the other.
Last season the Western conference had six teams in the playoffs and the Eastern had two and it seems this season will be five from the West to only three from the East. Los Angeles, Dallas, Seattle, Colorado, and Real Salt Lake are all in a comfortable spot to reach the playoffs, but with the Red Bulls sitting in third in the East one may think they are currently sitting in a playoff spot, but that is not the case.
The Red Bulls have played 25 games this season while the three teams behind them in the standings, Kansas City, DC United, and Houston, have played in 23, 22, and 23 games, respectively. The sixth place Dynamo are only three points behind NYRB, meaning if they win one of their two games in hand they will be tied. With 30 points Kansas City and DC sit in a position where with only one win in one of their games in hand will put them ahead of the Red Bulls. If the Red Bulls would have defeated the Fire they would’ve forced the Dynamo and KC to win both of their games to get ahead and would’ve, at least, made things more difficult for United.
Instead the Red Bulls sit in the position they are in now and that is as underdogs. Of the Red Bulls remaining nine games four are against teams currently in the playoffs and one is a matchup agaisnt Kansas City, one of the teams fighting them for that likely final playoff spot. The Red Bulls have only themselves to blame for being in this position and will now have to surprise people to become one of the eight teams fighting for the MLS Cup.