Standings Watch: Plenty of movement below the Dynamo, but Houston stays put

Of course the Dynamo would have preferred a win and three points in New England, but a 1-1 draw on the road against a fellow playoff contender was hardly the worst result that could have happened. With it, the Dynamo stayed steady in the fourth position while New England dropped out of playoff position and into seventh place for the moment. Plenty of action around the conference this past weekend, let's dive in and take a look.

Philadelphia Union 1, Sporting Kansas City 0

Philadelphia picked up three points at Sporting Park to pull into fifth place in the Eastern Conference, two points back of the Dynamo. The Union have back-to-back matches against Toronto FC and D.C. United, the bottom two teams in the East, before finishing against Sporting KC and the Montreal Impact.

Kansas City’s loss kept them in second place in the East, just four points ahead of Houston, but they could clinch a playoff berth this weekend with a win against Columbus this weekend and some help (full playoff scenarios here). Sporting has games against Columbus, Houston, D.C. United and Philly remaining.

Chicago Fire 2, Montreal Impact 2

Up 2-1 in the 79th minute, Mike Magee stepped up to take a penalty kick that would complete his hat trick and all but seal three points for the Chicago Fire. Instead, he hit the crossbar and Maxim Tissot scored in the 87th minute for the Montreal Impact to tie the game at two and send both teams away with a point.

The difference between a win and a draw for Chicago this weekend was three places in the Eastern Conference standings. A win would have put the Fire on 42 points, level with the Union but owning the ‘games won’ tiebreaker. Rather than that, Chicago was left behind and now sits in eighth place—though still only two points behind the playoff places with D.C. United, FC Dallas, Toronto FC and New York remaining on the schedule.

Montreal remains in third place in the East, just two points ahead of the Dynamo. A Houston win on Friday night at BBVA Compass Stadium (7:30 p.m.; TICKETS) would see the Dynamo leapfrog the Impact into that third spot. After this weekend against Houston, Montreal’s last fixtures are against New England, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Toronto.

Columbus Crew 4, FC Dallas 2

For weeks now, the Columbus Crew have been teetering on the edge of having legitimate playoff chances. After a convincing win in Frisco against FC Dallas, they’ve now taken hold of sixth place in the conference, one point back of fifth place Philadelphia.

They have played 31 games so far while most of the teams around them have played 30, but their 12 wins is tied for the fourth-best mark in the East with the Dynamo—those wins are what have them placed ahead of New England, who also have 41 points. The Crew host Sporting Kansas City before playing home-and-away with New England to finish the season.

New York Red Bulls 1, Seattle Sounders FC 1

New York kept their Supporters’ Shield hopes alive with a draw in rainy Seattle. With 52 points, the Red Bulls are four points clear of second place Kansas City in the East and one point ahead of Real Salt Lake and the Sounders (who have two games in hand) in the Supporters’ Shield race.

New York could have been the first team to clinch a playoff spot with a win this past weekend, but they’ll have another shot at it this weekend against New England, needing a win, tie or some favorable results in other matches (full scenarios here). New York has only two games past that, in Houston against the Dynamo (Oct. 20, 3 p.m. CT; TICKETS) and at home to the Chicago Fire.

The Dynamo have a chance to clear up the playoff picture (at least for them) with their next three matches at home. As it stands, there are three teams below Houston within three points of them, but wins at BBVA Compass Stadium will certainly see the Dynamo pull away from the pack. With almost exclusively conference infighting from here on out, plenty of teams both below and above the Dynamo will drop points allowing for lots of fluidity in the standings.