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It is officially October 9, 2022. MLS Decision Day is here.

FC Cincinnati have been in a playoff position for a large portion of the season, first beginning following defeating Toronto FC twice in five days. Two more wins after that over Minnesota United and Chicago Fire placed the Orange and Blue as high as fourth place.

Following a midweek 1-1 draw at New York City FC, FC Cincinnati went into seventh place and have not fallen out of playoff positioning since. The Orange and Blue have been in control of their own destiny, and after all the scenarios and scoreboard watching, today, FC Cincinnati.com’s Playoff Watch is simple. 

For the Orange and Blue to clinch a spot for the first time in the MLS Cup Playoffs, here is what needs to happen.

FC Cincinnati clinch a berth in the 2022 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs with:

A WIN or DRAW at D.C. United OR

A LOSS at D.C. United and Orlando City SC vs. Columbus Crew does not end in a draw

When asked about balancing the thought that FC Cincinnati could already be in the MLS Cup Playoffs had other results gone their way earlier this season, versus the fact that after three seasons of last-place seasons that the Orange and Blue are controlling their destiny on Decision Day, FCC Head Coach Pat Noonan said this:

"I think we could have certainly positioned ourselves better. With previous results, and opportunities, to not have to have the final game be a decider. We know that, but at the same time, we can't be thinking that way, we have to think about 'here we are with an opportunity to be a playoff team by going and getting a result on the road in the final game.' 

“And that's our approach. And I think the guys this week have, certainly since those Wednesday results, had a life about them that and a certainty about them of 'this is what we need to do to get into the playoffs.' And I think that clarity, and the focus of the group has led to a couple good training sessions. A lot of guys talking, a lot of guys trying to problem solve and be on the same page so that when we step on the field, we're ready to compete and ready to win a game."

Here's a look at how things stand in the Eastern Conference ahead of today’s Decision Day slate, with all Eastern Conference games set to get underway at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Teams in the hunt (standings on Decision Day)
Teams in the hunt (standings on Decision Day)
Position
Team
Points
Games Played
Record (W-L-D)
Remaining Games
Max. points possible
5th
x - Inter Miami CF
48
33
14-13-6
vs CF Montréal
51
6th
FC Cincinnati
46
33
11-9-13
at D.C. United
49
7th
Columbus Crew
46
33
10-7-16
at Orlando City SC
49
8th
Orlando City SC
45
33
13-14-6
vs Columbus Crew
48

Top seven teams in standings qualify for the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs (top four teams host a Round One game). Inter Miami CF can still reach fourth place with a win against Montreal and a New York Red Bulls draw or loss)

A look at the fixtures which directly impact the Orange and Blue:

D.C. United vs FC Cincinnati – Sunday, Oct. 9 at 2:30 p.m. ET
FC Cincinnati can clinch a berth in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs with a win or draw against last place D.C. United. A loss, combined with one team taking three points in the Orlando City SC – Columbus Crew fixture, would also see the Orange and Blue head to the postseason.

Orlando City SC vs Columbus Crew – Sunday, Oct. 9 at 2:30 p.m. ET
For FC Cincinnati, if this match ends in either team securing a win over the other, the Orange and Blue clinch a playoff spot.

IF ORLANDO WINS: They will reach 48 points. FC Cincinnati, currently sitting at 46 points, would be above Orlando with a win vs. D.C., but would be below the Lions should they settle for a draw or suffer a loss.

IF COLUMBUS WINS: They will reach 49 points. FC Cincinnati, currently sitting at 46 points, would be above Columbus with a win vs. D.C. due to owning the tiebreaker (total number of wins), but would be below the Crew should they settle for a draw or suffer a loss.

IF ORLANDO-COLUMBUS ENDS IN A DRAW: The Crew will reach 47 points and Orlando will have 46 points. FC Cincinnati, currently sitting at 46 points, must win or draw to finish above both sides. Orlando owns the tiebreaker over Cincinnati (total number of wins) and would finish above FCC if the Orange and Blue suffer a defeat against D.C.

Inter Miami CF vs CF Montréal – Sunday, Oct. 9 at 2:30 p.m. ET
This matchup involves the Orange and Blue for seeding purposes. Both teams have clinched a spot among the final seven in the Eastern Conference.

IF MIAMI WINS: They will reach 51 points. FC Cincinnati, currently sitting at 46 points, cannot reach Miami unless the Herons lose. Miami owns the tiebreaker over Cincinnati (total number of wins) and would finish above FCC with a win or draw.

IF MONTRÉAL WINS: Inter Miami CF stays at 48 points. FC Cincinnati, currently sitting at 46 points, would pass Miami in the standings and into fifth with a win at D.C. United.

IF MIAMI-MONTRÉAL ENDS IN A DRAW: FC Cincinnati cannot pass Miami, regardless of a win or draw for the Orange and Blue in Washington. Montréal would be locked into the No. 2 seed, and could be a potential first round matchup for the Orange and Blue.