HOUSTON – Having reached the range of recent MLS playoff cuspers in August, you’d think St. Louis CITY SC would have clinched a playoff spot by now. That’s not the case quite yet, but it could happen this weekend, possibly as soon as Saturday.

Heading into Saturday, St. Louis leads the Western Conference with a 15-3-10 record and 48 points. While the inaugural squad is still pushing for their first victory of September, they have a comfortable cushion (seven points) for the top seed in the west.

CITY SC needs one of at least six scenarios to unfold this weekend to clinch a playoff spot in their first season. Each case requires St. Louis to win Saturday’s road game against the Houston Dynamo.

According to MLSSoccer.com, CITY will clinch a playoff spot this weekend if CITY SC wins and at least one of the following happen…

  • Two additional teams (LA Galaxy and Austin FC) both lose their next matchups
  • Two additional teams (FC Dallas and Austin FC) both lose their next matchups
  • Minnesota United FC does not win its next game and Austin FC loses
  • San Jose Earthquakes do not win their next game and Austin FC loses
  • San Jose Earthquakes do not win their next game and LA Galaxy loses
  • Minnesota United FC and San Jose Earthquakes do not win their next games

St. Louis has a relatively early start compared to most of its Western Conference counterparts, so the City Boys will not know until after their game and postgame routines if they have indeed clinch a playoff spot.

Many scenarios also require Austin FC to lose. If it does not come down to one of the alternatives, St. Louis will not know until at least Sunday evening if they have clinched a playoff after the Austin vs. Portland match.

To calculate when playoff percentage is clinched, it’s basically when the top squad on the outside looking in can no longer pass another team in points. In applying that logic to CITY SC and Austin…

  • With six matches remaining, St. Louis has a 15-3-10 record for 48 points.
  • Austin FC has a 9-6-12 record for 33 points. They have seven matches remaining.
  • If Austin were to win out, they could finish with 16 wins and 54 points. No other team outside the playoff bubble in the west could mathematically finish better than that.
  • If Austin loses Sunday, they could not finish with more than 15 wins or 51 points.
  • If St. Louis wins on Saturday, at worst, they would finish with 16 wins and 51 points. Plus they would hold tiebreaker advantages for having more wins.

The previously mentioned clinching scenarios would also involve a similar mathematical process from teams listed based on how many games they have played and their current standings.

Unlike previous years, the MLS playoff pool will expand to nine teams this season. CITY SC will have incentive to keep battling after a playoff berth, not only to potentially play spoiler, but also make a run at home field advantage through the top west seed.

According to PlayoffStatus.com, a sports-based website that measures performance and playoff scenarios for US professional and college athletics, as of Thursday…

  • St. Louis CITY SC has a 99% chance of securing a playoff spot.
  • St. Louis CITY SC has a 95% chance of securing a playoff spot and hosting at least one playoff game.
  • St. Louis CITY SC has a 90% at a Top-3 Western Conference seed.
  • St. Louis CITY SC has a 65% chance at the Western Conference crown.