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Columbus Crew 2013 MLS Playoff 4caster - Game 32

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 fell at home to Sporting Kansas City. I, on the other hand, saw Nine Inch Nails in Cleveland... hence the spillover below.

When Will Then Be Now?
When Will Then Be Now?
Sam Fahmi/Massive Report

Current Playoff Outlook:
Slipping Away

After losing a fugly must-win home game on Saturday, the Crew now need such desperate feats as a tie from Toronto or potentially a win from DC United in order to qualify for the playoffs.  While they never Gave Up on Saturday, the effort wasn't as sharp as it was in the last three games.

Here's the view since June 30:

Pts2makeplayoffs_10

MLS East Standings

New York has clinched a playoff berth, and Kansas City is close behind them. Montreal, who led the East for the first 20 and 26 of the first 28 weeks of the season, is in full-on self destruct mode with one win in their last six and three more playoff-caliber teams coming up in October.  The standings, sorted by PPG:

Standings_10

In this view, Current Points are in black, Projected Points (PPG*34) are in blue, Potential Points are in gray.

Eastrace_10

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

Stat
#
Notes

Projected Pts To Win the East

60 New York and Sporting KC are pulling ahead.  Considering that Kansas City has a game in hand against DC United, you wouldn't be faulted for giving KC in the lead.  Of the two other remaining games for each team, both (oddly) travel to Houston for one of them.

Points to Clinch Playoffs

53 Currently the 6th place team (Chicago)'s maximum points is 52.

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

49 Houston, Philly and Chicago all won this weekend.  The Philly win especially hurt, driving up the 5th place bar to 49.

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

45 Philly already has 45.  Crew must at the very least get a tie & a win in their last two games.

Maximum Crew Points

47 For the first time, the Crew's maximum points has dipped below the number projected for the 5th place playoff spot.  In addition to winning out, the Crew will absolutely need help.  More on that below.
Current Crew Points
41 13th smallest prime number

Projected Additional Points Needed for Playoffs

8
49 - 41 = 8.  Yeah, this is a problem as the Crew can only get 6 more points if they win out.  They'll need help.

Most Likely Scenario to Make Playoffs

This is one I could see happening.  Others exist.

1) Crew win last 2 games, get to 47 points.  By doing so, they pass New England, which ends with 42 points.  ALSO,

2) Philly ties at DC United (there's the rub), loses in Montreal, ties at home to Sporting KC.  Ends with 47 points.  Crew advance on wins tiebreaker.  ALSO ALSO,

3) Chicago ties Dallas, beats TFC, loses season finale at New York.  Ends on 47 points, equaling Crew.  Crew advance on wins tiebreaker.

This scenario assumes that Montreal and Houston don't completely collapse, which would mean they'll easily make the playoffs.  The Crew would travel to 4th place team for the Wild Card match.

Selected Scenarios In Which the Crew Miss the Playoffs...

Sadly, there's a bunch

1) Crew fail to get 4 points in last 2 games, OR

2) Crew get 4 points, Philly gets 1 point in last 3, OR

3) Montreal gets 2 points in last 4 games, Houston gets 1 point in last 3 and Philly wins 1 more game (regardless of Crew results).

4) Houston beats KC this Wednesday.  Then, on Saturday, Montreal beats New England and Philly beats DC United.  This would eliminate the Crew on Columbus Day.




Supporters' Shield

Seattle was both frail and wretched against the Rapids this week.  With two rivalry games, an away trip to Dallas and a season-ending tilt against the Galaxy, nothing is guaranteed for the Sounders at this point.  I expect this race will go down to the final weekend, if not the final match, of the MLS season.  SKC is set up nicely, with the second highest maximum points and a game against DC remaining on their schedule.

  • 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 season.
  • Reminder of 2013's 1st three tiebreaker rules: 1) Most wins, 2) Goals for, 3) Goal differential.  I'll include those in the standings next week.

Ss_10


Stat
Value
Notes
Projected Pts to Win Supporters Shield 62 The Sounders' maximum points is 63.
Teams Still In Race Technically 11, but for now I'm focusing on the top 5 Seattle, New York, Kansas City, Salt Lake, Portland. 
Key Remaining Games

10/9: Sporting KC @ Houston

10/12: Seattle @ Portland

Kansas City will be missing Zusi & Besler for their critical 10/9 mid-week game at Houston.

Seattle hasn't won since 9/13, and has mid-week Cascadia tussle three days before their game at week-rested Portland.

Who Do I Root For This Week?

This week, I'm adding an official WDIRF October calendar.  With so many matches to keep track of, this should sassifry all your team-rootin' needs in one handy .jpg.Calendar_10

There are four key games this week:

Date
Game
Root For
10/9 Sporting KC @ Houston 8:30pm EST Kansas City
10/12 New England @ Montreal 2:30pm EST Montreal
10/12 Philly @ DC United 7:00pm EST Not Philly.  By this point, a Philly win (against horrid DC United) could eliminate the Crew.
10/12 Chicago @ Dallas 8:30pm EST You know what to do.