Columbus Crew 2013 MLS Playoff 4caster - Game 26

Each week, I update the Columbus Crew's playoff outlook based on their results and the those of their MLS Eastern Conference foes. This week the Crew hosted Seattle, gained a one man advantage almost immediately, then failed to score.

Current Playoff Outlook: As Bright as a KMFDM Song

Putting together this week's column reminded me of the last lines from industrial legends KMFDM's 1996 track, "Dogma." (WARNING: NAUGHTY LANGUAGE.  AND THE CHICK SOUNDS KINDA SCARY.)

  • "Someone's writing down your mistakes.  Someone's documenting your downfall."

Not so much a song, it's an industrial death march featuring a kill sergeant spitting at you.  It's the type of unfriendly head check the Crew could have used in their locker room in May.

That said, the loss to Seattle this week burned the beans of any chance the Crew had of making the playoffs.  Scenarios as recent as last week would have required three to four game win streaks but also included the occasional tie or loss; now "mathematical" is a required modifier if one's talking about the Crew's playoff possibilities.

To further document their downfall, I've included the Crew's maximum points attainable as a line in this week's playoff-tracking chart.  This displays that if they won every game from here on out, the Crew would hit 53 points; that's just one more than last year's non-playoff worthy total of 52, but currently a smidge above this season's current projection of 49.  Here's the view since June 30:

Pts2makeplayoffs_9

Montreal held court with their away tie this week, but New York and Sporting KC solidified their playoff hopes with wins.  Houston, Philly, New England and Chicago will duke it out for the last 2 spots.  Of these teams, only Houston will be dealing with CCL.

I took another look this week at the combined PPG of the teams the Crew has beaten this year: 1.04.  Kind of says it all.

Below are the standings as of 8/25, sorted by PPG.

Standings_9

Here's my breakdown of the Crew's position in the MLS East playoff race:

Stat
#
Notes

Projected Pts To Win the East

54 Probably between Montreal & Sporting Kansas City.  Montreal had the lead most of the season, but I'm now giving Sporting KC the edge.  Sporting's ROPPG is lower; four of their last seven games are against the Crew, Toronto and DC.  Montreal also has a rougher travel schedule, with two cross-continent trips to California and a jaunt to Houston in the next two months.  Both teams are dealing with CCL, so Montreal's extra two MLS matches may not be such the benefit they seem.

Projected Pts To Make Playoffs (5th Place in MLS Eastern Conference)

49 This figure has gone down two weeks in a row.  Just like the Crew.

Crew Projected Points

38 The Crew may struggle to hit 40 points this year.

Current Crew Points

29 29 backwards is 92.  An MLS team would have to go 30-0-2 to reach 92 points.  That kind of silliness would only be possible in a European league.

Projected Additional Points Needed for Playoffs

20 49 - 29 = 20

PPG Needed for 20 pts in 8 games

2.5 20/8 = 2.5

Example Record Needed for 20 Pts in 8 Games

6-0-2,

7-1-0

Any losses drop the Crew's maximum points to 50.  The voices in my head still tell me 51 will be needed for playoffs this year.




Season Projection

The Crew would have to win 6 straight before they could expect to be in playoff position.  That would be game 32, on October 5.  If the minimum points moves up from 49, it may take winning each of the last 8 games.  So, there's that.Season_position_9

Supporters' Shield

I'm not including Kansas City in this group yet, but I think they have a shot at being listed soon for the reasons listed in the "Projected Points To Win the East" Notes.  The way RSL's playing, though, the road to MLS Cup could look a lot like I-15.

  • Current Points are in black, Projected Points (PPG*34) are in blue, Potential Points are in gray.
  • ROPPG (Remaining Opponents' PPG) gives you an idea of each team's strength of schedule through the rest of the regular season.
  • I chopped some of the width off the image by cinching the points line. This allows for easier browsing; the image will get more spatially accurate as the seasons draws to a close.

Ss_9

Who Do I Root For This Week?

The United States of America.  The table below is lifted from another article of mine in which I tried to figure out which scenarios would mean that the US could clinch their World Cup berth on the field in Columbus.  I meant for it to be a kind of "pocket guide" to watching the Costa Rica match.  The "Likelihood" column tells you how likely I think each of the scenarios is to happen on Friday night.  To read the entire article, click Frankie.

Hejduk_usa_medium

Honduras-Mexico
USA-Costa Rica
Jamaica-Panama
Can the US Clinch in Columbus?
Likelihood
TIE USA
JAMAICA OR TIE
No- Already clinched in Costa Rica 4%
TIE USA
PANAMA
Yes, with win or tie 6%
SOMEONE WINS USA DOESN'T MATTER
Yes, with win or tie
10%
DOESN'T MATTER TIE DOESN'T MATTER Yes, with win
40%
HONDURAS COSTA RICA JAMAICA OR TIE Yes, with win 3.2%
TIE COSTA RICA DOESN'T MATTER
Yes, with win 20%
MEXICO COSTA RICA DOESN'T MATTER
Yes, with win & Panama win or tie vs Honduras
12%
HONDURAS COSTA RICA PANAMA
Yes, with win & Honduras win or tie vs Panama
4.8%

The Elimi-Nate-Or 3000 (No?  You Don't Like?  C'mon... This Joke's Got Legs!)

Eliminator_medium

DC United
They are still the worst team in the league; I will include this statement every week it's true.

The next game that Houston or New England tie or win, DC is out.  Or, the next game that DC doesn't win, they're out.  A tie or loss this week vs. Houston is unacceptable from the must-win Crew.  However, should that nastiness go down, you can raise one of your shot glasses Wednesday to DC's official ouster.  I mean, what else is there to celebrate at that point?

Toronto FC
Tied the Revs, which was a good thing for the Crew's playoff hopes and for Duncan.  An opportunity squandered.  TFC probably won't have their worst season ever (last year), but will probably their second or third worst ever.  Not surprisingly, the situation has improved up north since Duncan arrived.  He may be saving his friend's job.

Columbus Crew
Rules are rules.  Safe from inclusion in this section last week, the Crew are back in the embarrassing position of being lumped in with the teams eliminated before October.

The Elimi-Nate-Or 3000:

Projected Date DC United Eliminated From Playoffs
9/4, when Houston probably gets 1 point in Columbus.  Sorry, but that's what the Elimi-Nate-Or 3000 spit out.  I kicked it, didn't help.
Projected Date Toronto FC Eliminated From Playoffs
9/14 @ RBNY

Projected Date Columbus Crew Eliminated From Playoffs
9/29 @ Dallas
Date Toronto FC Fires Coach
9/14, when they get bumped from the playoffs.  Of note: 9/14/10 is the day they fired Preki.
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