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Columbus Crew 2013 MLS Playoff 4caster - Game 20

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 saw the Crew give up two stoppage time goals in losing at home to New England.


Current Playoff Outlook: Poop Sandwich

Here are the standings as of 7/21, sorted by PPG. Sporting Kansas City is now leading the East. Toronto and DC are still bottom-feeding. In losing to New England, the Crew dropped to 8th in both current standings (PTS) and PPG.


Mark McCullers might call me a pessimist (more on that in the next section), but the chances of the Crew making the playoffs are now extremely low. Here's my breakdown of the Crew's bleak position in the race:




Projected Pts To Win Supporters Shield


RSL, SKC and Portland now top MLS.

Projected Pts To Win East


Sporting KC is on a tear, establishing themselves as a second quality team in the East. Showcase showdown next week @ Stade Saputo in Montreal.

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


Sporting KC and Montreal are the only teams I’d say I expect to see in the playoffs at this point. It will be a dogfight between Houston, NYRB, Philly, New England & Chicago for last 3 spots.

Crew Projected Points


8th place. Currently on track for first losing season since 2007.

Current Crew Points


8th place. Just above Toronto & DC.

Projected Additional Points Needed for Playoffs


50 – 23 = 27

PPG Needed for 27 Pts in 14 games


27/14 = 1.93

Example Record Needed for 27 Pts in 14 Games


There are no scenarios in which the Crew could win less than 7 or lose more than 5 of the last 14 games and still earn 27 more points.

Season Projection

With teams in the Eastern Conference varying between 19 and 21 games played, it's a challenge to look at the standings and know your team's... standing. PPG helps with that. When it comes to projecting the season, I wanted to create something that normalized standings week to week. Here's what I have for now:


Sorted by current PPG, this view shows the game days as columns and teams as rows. If a figure has a white background, it represents actual results. If it has a green background, it is a projection based on actual + PPG. For instance, the Crew had 23 points after game 19. They also have 23 points after game 20. At a current PPG of 1.15, their projected point total after game 21 is 24.15 (I round to nearest integer). Note: This has nothing to do with who a given team is playing a given week. It's just math.

Full Disclosure - I Love The Crew And This Column Is Trying To Break My Heart

Going a bit 4th-wall here, but this is important.

If it wasn't already clear, let me say this: I'm a Columbus Crew lifer. I'm also a fan of spreadsheets, math and writing. While this column is an outlet for me to combine those passions and share a bit of my insights, it kills me to have to post such a grim outlook each week. It kills me, but it's the truth.

Each game day, I have the hope of a 10 year old in my heart. Every week, I believe. When the whistle first blows, I smile. I feel grateful that Columbus even has a team in MLS. You have to muster up courage to be an optimistic fan, because when you open your heart to a team, you open your heart to be broken. But for me, that's the only way I know. Not surprisingly, I see pessimists as taking the easy way out. For those who do nothing but spout snark and sarcasm, there's rarely accountability when their gloomy predictions are wrong. However, I almost always here an, "I told you so" when they're right. Lame.

All this said, and to end my rant, these lines of reason all meet at another aphorism: The truth will set you free. My goals in this column are to reveal truths about the Crew's season, communicate what they're up against and hopefully entertain you all along the way. I think that's something that optimists and pessimists alike can both appreciate.

Who Do I Root For This Week?

If you're still interested in this section, bless you. With 7 teams now ahead of the Crew in the Eastern Conference standings, this is getting hairy. You have to start picking teams that you believe are going to make it vs ones the Crew have a shot of catching.



Root For

7/27 RSL @ New York Red Bulls Real Salt Lake
7/27 Philly @ Vancouver Vancouver
7/27 New England @ DC DC United
7/27 Sporting KC @ Montreal Whichever team you think has a better shot of tanking the season and falling out of the playoff race. But this should be a great game.
7/27 Chicago @ Houston Houston, in that Chicago is now also ahead of the Crew. If you think Houston doesn't have it in the tank to make the playoffs, root for a tie.

Misery Loves Company

DC United - Historically Bad
They are still the worst team in the league; I will include this statement every week it's true. As of this week, they are starting to look like the worst team in MLS history. Their current PPG of .50 is nearing that of current "title" holders, the 1999 Metrostars, who gained 15 points in 32 matches for a .47 PPG.

Toronto FC
First, let's point out that they lost to a mostly 10-man Chivas on Wednesday. For a brief 2 hours, I rooted for TFC to gain at least a point from New York on Saturday. I felt slimy, but it worked. Then the Crew lost. I felt even dirtier.

Columbus Crew
Unfortunately, many Crew fans are now wondering at what point they'll be eliminated from the playoff race; I've got to add their projected elimination date to this column. I'm attending the 9/7 match in Kansas City. I really hope that match is still relevant.

DC United's Projected 2013 Points
Toronto FC's Projected 2013 Points
Projected Date DC United Eliminated From Playoffs
8/24 vs Toronto
Projected Date Toronto FC Eliminated From Playoffs
9/7 @ Timbers
Projected Date Columbus Crew Eliminated From Playoffs
9/29 @ Dallas
Date Toronto FC Fires Coach
Over/Under is Labour Day