KANSAS CITY, Kan. – With no wiggle room left, the Wizards face a must-win on Tuesday night against the Fire.
Kansas City’s only chance of sneaking into the playoffs is to win their final three games and hope Colorado drop both of their remaining contests. That would leave the two teams tied on 42 points with manager Peter Vermes’ side holding the head-to-head tiebreaker.
It’s a farfetched scenario to be sure, but one the Wizards certainly can’t afford to dismiss.
“[We’ve got to] go for broke against Chicago and hope everything else happens in our favor,” Vermes said. “Crazier things have happened, believe me. Anything can happen.”
Even though Kansas City still rely on the Los Angeles Galaxy and Real Salt Lake defeating Colorado, their fate could very well be decided before the Rapids even play another game. The Wizards will have already played both the Fire and the New England Revolution before Colorado take the field against LA on Saturday night.
If all goes to plan through the weekend, the Wizards would still need to defeat San Jose on Oct. 23 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in the season finale and hope RSL can knock off the Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“All we can do is win our games,” captain Davy Arnaud said. “If that turns out that its enough for us, that’s great. But we’re just going to lay everything on the line in these last three games.”
And if it’s not enough, Kansas City will have nobody to blame but themselves.
The Wizards can point to at least a handful of games this season in which they outplayed or matched their opponents only to have soft goals or an inability to finish result in dropped points.
The team went nearly two months without a victory from early April to early June, digging itself a hole from which it has valiantly tried to come back.
“Those games come back to haunt you,” defender Jimmy Conrad said. “Those are early games in the season, and I think a lot of us older guys understand the importance of points regardless what point it is in the season. You can't wait until the end of the season to try to make it happen.”
Unfortunately for Kansas City, trying to making it happen at the end of the season is their only option.
The Wizards can either prolong their playoff lives with a victory against the Fire, who are already out of postseason contention, or start planning for next season with a draw or lose.
But no matter what, the team isn’t going to give up now. Even if the odds are daunting, the Wizards aren't yet dead and buried.
“We’re not going to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves,” Arnaud said. “We’ve still got three games left to play, and we’re going to give absolutely everything we have because we’re still not out of it.”