We are in the final stretch of the 2018 season and the battles along the playoff line are getting intense.
Two teams are fighting for the Supporters' Shield (ATL, RBNY) after locking up playoff berths, while two teams have been eliminated from playoff contention (SJ, COL). Four other teams (HOU, MIN, CHI, ORL) have less than a 1 percent chance of reaching the playoffs according to FiveThirtyEight.com, leaving 15 teams fighting for 10 playoff spots.
One major factor in determining who will make the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs is the difficulty of each team's remaining schedule.
Below you'll find the complete table of each team's strength of schedule, calculated by taking the 2018 average points per game at home and on the road for each team's opponent. A higher number means the schedule is more difficult, while a lower one means it's easier.
It's no surprise that D.C. United have the easiest schedule the rest of the way, considering five of their last six matches come at home.
West teams should be fearful of the Seattle Sounders carrying their nine-game win streak even farther, as only one of their last seven opponents are currently above the playoff line. Brian Schmetzer's team can break the post-shootout record for longest win streak on Wednesday when the Philadelphia Union visit CenturyLink Field (11 pm ET | TV & streaming info). It wouldn't be a surprise to see Seattle jump all the way into the top two in the West, ensuring a bye into the Conference Semifinals.
After Toronto FC face Tigres UANL in the inaugural Campeones Cup on Wednesday (8:15 pm ET | TSN, ESPN2, Univision, TVAS), the Reds will have to play the toughest schedule in the MLS. They have a 4 percent chance of making the playoffs according to FiveThirtyEight.com, and that may seem high considering they must travel to play the New York Red Bulls on Saturday (5 pm ET | TSN — Full TV & streaming info), and follow that up with trips to Montreal and D.C. later in the season. They end the season at home against Atlanta United, who have a better road record than a home one.
Real Salt Lake could also be in more trouble than we may have thought over the past couple of weeks. They, along with Portland, are trying to hold off Vancouver in the West playoff race and have to travel to Atlanta and Kansas City before facing the Timbers twice.