Settled in at Audi Field, on a four-game unbeaten run that includes two sparkling wins, D.C. United are rolling right now. They've finally moved off the bottom of the Eastern Conference, and believe it or not, but they're only six points out of the final playoff spot, with games in hand on the rest of the competition.
Among the teams standing in their way is the New England Revolution, who are only one point below the playoff line but have been in slipping form of late, as they are on a six-game winless run.
Of course, the two teams will be playing in Washington, D.C. on Sunday (7:30 pm ET | FS1 - Full TV & Streaming Info), so it's worth wondering which team is on the better track to make the playoffs this season.
Are D.C. United or the New England Revolution more likely to make the playoffs in 2018?
WARSHAW: I'm doing my best not to get lost in recency bias, but I don't see how New England beats out D.C. at this point. Michael Mancienne would need to get eligible quickly and be a serious difference maker right away. The better question is "Toronto or D.C.?" and that's a harder one for me after watching Toronto outplay NYCFC even while down a man.
COUCH: Have y’all watched these teams lately? They’ve both got momentum … in opposite directions. D.C. is climbing, the Revs are falling, and there’s been nothing to indicate the trends won’t keep rolling (overall) toward a swap in the standings.
STEJSKAL: D.C., for two reasons: Form and schedule. New England are winless in their last six, four of which have been losses. Seven of their remaining 11 games are on the road, and eight of those 11 games are against current playoff teams. That's in stark contrast to D.C., who are 3-0-1 in their last four, will play 10 of their final 13 at Audi Field and play the same number of playoff teams down the stretch – eight – as New England. I'm not sure if United make the playoffs, but those factors should be more than enough for them to close their narrow gap with New England.
BOEHM: I'm going with D.C. here, and I know I'm not alone in that. The Revs have won two of 13 league games since mid-May, and their stretch run is rugged: They must visit NYCFC, LAFC, Toronto FC, Atlanta United and RSL, which ratchets up the pressure to take all three points when Portland, Chicago, Orlando and Montreal visit Gillette Stadium.
All that said, however, D.C. United are in the midst of their own extremely taxing, highly backloaded slate and with New England capable of gumming up their rhythm, I think they drop points at home on Sunday.
WEST: Even though D.C. United have a little more ground to make up in the standings, I think they’re riding unusually strong momentum, plus they’ve got three major X factors: a rejuvenated Wayne Rooney defending like a No. 6 as well as scoring, the feel-good return of Bill Hamid, and 10 of their last 13 matches at home.
RODRIGUEZ: This is MLS, so anything can happen. But given the reasons stated by my colleagues here, I would definitely put my wooden nickels on D.C. being closer – if not in – come season's end.