The New York Red Bulls enter their final two regular-season games currently holding onto the third of four wild-card spots to qualify for the MLS playoffs. The Red Bulls (43 points) are tied with the Houston Dynamo in the standings, but hold the tiebreaker against Houston based on goal differential.
The top three finishers in each conference make the playoffs, and four wild cards consisting of the next four best teams, irrespective of conferences, will compete in a single elimination play-in game that doubles as the first round of the playoffs.
After the two play-in games conclude, the lowest remaining seed will face the Supporters' Shield winner (an award won by the team with the league's best record) in the Conference semifinals; the other will face the No. 1 seed in the opposite conference from the Supporters' Shield winner.
The Red Bulls are currently just four points behind the Philadelphia Union (47 points) for first place in the Eastern Conference, but will be hard-pressed to catch the Union with only two games remaining. Catching second-place Sporting Kansas City (45 points) could be more reasonable, since New York trails Sporting Kansas City by only two points. Falling out of the playoffs is not entirely out of the question, as the Portland Timbers (38 points), D.C. United (38 points) and Chicago Fire (37 points) are all mathematically alive and have more games left than New York.
The Red Bulls host Sporting Kansas City Saturday at 4 p.m. in the team's first ever game at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, then finish the season against the. Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Arena on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 8 p.m.