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Columbus Crew 2013 MLS Playoff 4caster - Game 25

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 traveled to Real Salt Lake and delivered a limp-fish-handshake performance, losing spectacularly to one of the top teams in the Western Conference.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Current Playoff Outlook: Desperate, But No Worse Last Week. Really. Except For Losing Higuain.

If you follow me on twitter, you may have seen a couple tweets where I was mentioning that this week's loss doesn't exactly bury the Crew's playoff hopes. (They're already trying to dig themselves out of a grave.) Last week, I said a target record to get into the playoffs over their final 10 games would be 7-1-2. On paper, the toughest of those 10 would have been either at RSL or at Montreal. If you're going to lose 1 remaining game, might as well lose on the road to someone in the West.

The other key factor to the Crew's outlook is how other teams in the East did. Last week, I suggested five teams to root for in "Who Do I Root For This Week?" Your rooting worked big time; the Crew got exactly the help they needed in four out of the five games. That dropped the expected points needed for 5th place from 52 to 50. Last week's needed PPG for the rest of the season was 2.3; this week's, as you'll see below, is virtually unchanged at 2.33.

Here's a view of the projected points for the last playoff spot vs where the Crew have been trending since June 30:


In the East, 3 points separate 2nd place from 7th. Normally at this point in the season, teams separate. This year, the opposite is happening. Below are the standings as of 8/25, sorted by PPG.


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


Projected Pts To Win the East

52 points wasn't good enough to make the playoffs last year for the Crew. This year, it might win you the Eastern Conference top seed.

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

This figure continues to hover around 51 points.

Crew Projected Points

29/25 = 1.16*34 games = 39.4

Current Crew Points

29 Sigh.

Projected Additional Points Needed for Playoffs

50-29 = 21

PPG Needed for 21 pts in 9 games

21/9 = 2.33

Example Record Needed for 21 Pts in 9 Games

Crew would have to win 7 of last 9. Three more losses will end their playoff hopes.

Season Projection

If the Crew start another winning streak next week against Seattle, by September 21 (game 30) they can expect to be in playoff position.


Supporters' Shield

Montreal and Real Salt Lake both reclaimed some distance in their respective conferences, but are very close to each other in the Supporters' Shield race.

  • Current Points are in black
  • Projected Points (PPG*34) are in blue
  • Total Maximum Points are in gray
  • ROPPG (Remaining Opponents' PPG) gives you an idea of each team's strength of schedule through October.
  • 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?

Whatever you ate for breakfast last time around, do it again this week.

Date Match Root For
New England @ Toronto
Turnstile For Coaches
Montreal @ Philly
Montreal. A lot. In French.
DC @ New York
DC. Don't laugh; this is rivalry game, and NY has a penchant for not showing up for big games like this.
Colorado @ Sporting KC
Houston @ Chicago
Dynamo Suspensions and a tie. The Crew host Houston three days later.

Schadenfreude Zentral

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

With their tie against Toronto, they moved one point closer to not being the worst team in league history. They'll need two points in their last 9 games - an uphill battle for sure, but not impossible.

Toronto FC
Tied the of the worst teams in league history, and that tie actually improved their PPG.

Projected Date DC United Eliminated From Playoffs
9/8 @ Chivas. However, a loss or tie next Saturday against RBNY along with a Houston win over Chicago eliminates DC.
Projected Date Toronto FC Eliminated From Playoffs
9/14 @ RBNY
Date Toronto FC Fires Coach
9/14, when they get bumped from the playoffs. As is tradition.