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Columbus Crew 2013 MLS Playoff 4caster - Game 24

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 took care of Toronto FC with a commanding 2-0 win at home.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Current Playoff Outlook: Technically, Worse Than Last Week's. Again.

Of course, it's a very yummy thing for Crew fans that the team has won two games in a row. Wil Trapp and Agustin Viana's emergence has seemed to help stabilize the defense and Higuain's return to goal-scoring prowess in the run of play brings relief. But this year's historically even batch of soccer teams in MLS is making the Crew's return to playoff position an even more difficult task. As I've stated before in this column, my prediction for the needed points for 5th place this year is 51. That's based on historical information and Eyeballin'. This week's calculation shows the 5th place team (Philadelphia Union) projecting at 52 points. Here's a quick view of the action since June 30:


Call out: I'm not waiting on the Sporting KC result tonight; I have to squeeze these columns in when wife and/or baby are asleep. Graham Zusi does not fit into that schedule today.

Note that with TFC off the table, the Crew's ROPPG jumps up to 1.51. This should drop after their RSL match; no other Eastern Conference teams still have to play Salt Lake. ROPPG also shows how New York is better positioned than Philly or Houston in terms of schedule difficulty. Factoring in that Montreal, Sporting KC and Houston all have CCL matches to deal with, I'd expect the New York to make the playoffs this year. This leaves Houston, Philly, New England and Chicago as the Crew's main competition for the last playoff spot. Only one of those teams other than the Crew can make it.

Below are the standings as of 8/17, sorted by PPG.


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


Projected Pts To Win the East

56 Would rise to 57 with an SKC win Sunday night. Should they tie or lose, top 5 teams in the East would be projecting to land within 4 points of each other. Acquire popcorn.

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

52 As shown in the above graphic, this is the highest this figure has been all year; likely to drop back down next week.

Crew Projected Points

41 29/24 = 1.21*34 = 41.1

Current Crew Points

29 Um, I grew up just off I-70 Exit 29. No other significance here.

Projected Additional Points Needed for Playoffs

23 52-29 = 23

PPG Needed for 23 pts in 10 games

2.3 This figure has gone up each week since July 7. A win at RSL next week would change that.

Example Record Needed for 23 Pts in 10 Games

7-1-2 Win 7 or more, lose 2 or less. If the Crew sweep the rest of their home matches, their road record could be 2-1-2. In Pipa I trust.

Season Projection

Remember: If a number is in white, it's real. If it's green, it's a projection. If you're having trouble reading this, think of each game week as a bowling frame. Sometimes your fellow bowlers' scores aren't displayed right away because they marked in a previous frame. Eventually, you see how you all lined up frame by frame. (Yes, MLS standings are about as obscure as bowling frames. Can we line up the weekly schedules better next year, Soccer Don?)

If the Crew keep winning, by September 14 (game 29) they can expect to be in playoff position.


Supporters Shield

Disclaimer/Reminder: If SKC wins Sunday night, they pull to the lead in the SS Standings. The top 6 teams are all projecting to finish within 3 points of each other. There's no way it actually ends up that close, right? A quick guide to the figure below:

  • Current Points are in black
  • Projected Points (PPG*34) are in blue
  • Total Maximum Points are in gray
  • I chopped some of the width off the image by cinching the points line. This will allow for easy browsing... but the image will get more spatially accurate as the seasons draws to a close.


Who Do I Root For This Week?

With CCL upon us, and the Crew winning again, the rooting can get more interesting.

Date Match Root For
8/18 Sporting KC @ San Jose 'Quakes
8/23 Sporting KC @ Chicago SporKCs. If you think KC can somehow spiral out of the playoff picture, root for a tie. I don't see that happening. Sporting with CCL match 4 days later in Honduras.
8/24 Houston @ Montreal Montreal. Both teams travel mid-week for CCL matches; Houston pulls the double by then heading up to Montreal. Will be interesting to see how both teams manage their squads.
8/25 New York @ Chivas Chivas. New York, as always, is an enigma. They may dominate, they may be awful. Pretty good bet that Chivas will be bad. I'd suggest not watching this game.
8/25 Philly @ New England
Revs. Crew can control own fate to some extent w/New England, since they play twice to close the season. That makes any suspensions from the Revs' end of game shenanigans with the Fire significant (and bad for Crew fans).

Misery Loves Company

DC United
They are still the worst team in the league; I will include this statement every week it's true. Probably won't be the worst team in league history. Probably.

Toronto FC
The losers of Trillium Cup are 3.5 weeks from being eliminated from MLS Playoffs. On pace for 2nd worst record in club history. Have only 13 more days to fire their coach in August, something they've never done. Since the last 2 coaches were fired on the 7th day of the month, moving the head coach firing prediction back a few days to September 7.

Columbus Crew

A win next week gets them off this list. Next week's match is against an RSL team that has a mid-week away match on turf.

Projected Date DC United Eliminated From Playoffs
8/31 vs RBNY
Projected Date Toronto FC Eliminated From Playoffs
9/11 vs Fire
Projected Date Columbus Crew Eliminated From Playoffs
9/29 @ Dallas
Date Toronto FC Fires Coach