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Columbus Crew 2013 MLS Playoff 4caster - Game 29

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 shocked Montreal (and some of its own fans) with a comeback victory on the road against the top team in the East.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Current Playoff Outlook: Not Dead Yet. Getting Better.

The Crew can't afford to lose, or potentially even tie, any more games. This much is true. But if they can go up to Montreal and get a win, can't they do anything? With Pipa back and contributing, it seems that way. Call me Shirley, but I think a home win this Saturday night against Chicago could ignite a full-on sense of optimism that this season could be saved. Philly is in a spin, and the Crew can gain 3 points on the Fire and 6 on the Revolution by TCB'in' when the time comes. It's a funny league, this MLS.

Or this could all be over next week. Here's the view since June 30:


MLS East Standings

Montreal still holds the PPG lead over New York, but they are essentially even. Sporting KC is currently in third, but has a much easier schedule than either Montreal or New York. Crew fans should be rooting for these three teams from here on out; collectively, they play Houston, Chicago, Philly and New England 10 times between now and the end of the season.


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


Projected Pts To Win the East

Looks more and more like a 3-team race between Montreal, New York and Kansas City.

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

Not all results went the Crew's way this week, especially Chicago's win. Still, as the Crew's maximum number of points is 50, it would be great if this figure stayed around 47-48. Even the 4th place line is projecting at under 50 right now; a very good sign that the 5th place slot might actually stay 47-48.

Maximum Crew Points

Stretttttttch and KICK. 50. 50 points.
Projected Crew Points 41
1.21 PPG *34 = 41. First time over 40 since mid-August.
Current Crew Points
High amount of wins in their W-L-T mix could serve Crew well if it came to tiebreakers.

Projected Additional Points Needed for Playoffs

47 - 35 = 12

PPG Needed for 12 Pts in 5 Games

12/5 = 2.4

Example Record Needed for 12 Pts in 5 Games

Given that the projected 5th place spot is normally closer to 50, don't read from this that the Crew can lose another game. Even if they win out, they might not make the playoffs.

Supporters' Shield

Seattle's win against RSL Friday night gives them some breathing room over their western rivals, and unlike Montreal they do not have CCL games taxing their players or their schedule. Also helping Seattle's cause was... wait for it... Columbus' second half comeback in Montreal.

Another note on Montreal... They played their strongest team on Saturday, indicating that CCL play was perhaps not their priority. If that's true, impact from the CCL tournament may be minimal in terms of attempting to secure the Supporters' Shield. Lucky for the Impact, they do not play Columbus again until either the playoffs or 2014.

  • 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.
  • For better display, I chopped some of the width off the image by cinching the points line. The chart is starting to get more spatially accurate.


Who Do I Root For This Week?

With New York, Montreal and Sporting KC nearly out of range for the Crew to catch, don't bother with those teams at this point. From here on out, focus your voodoo hexes on Houston, Chicago, Philly and New England. With Philly off this week and the Fire coming to Crew Stadium, only two other games matter.

Root For
9/21 7:30pm EST
DC United @ New England DC United
9/21 8:30pm EST
Chivas USA @ Houston Chivas USA. A lot.

The Elimi-Nate-Or 3000


DC United-X

They are still the worst team in the league; I will include this statement every week it's true. They're now also out of the playoffs.

With their tie this week against LA, DC is now merely one point away from completely blowing its run at the worst season in MLS history. If they attain at least 16 points, their PPG will be at least .471, higher than the '99 Metrostars' PPG of .469. But if they lose their last 6 matches, they will reach immortality.

Toronto FC-X

TFC was eliminated from the playoffs on Saturday. That said, this section was fun, but will be gone next week. Root for Duncan on 10/5 when TFC plays the Union and two weeks later against the Fire.

Date DC United Eliminated From Playoffs
Projected Date Toronto FC Eliminated From Playoffs

Date Toronto FC Fires Coach
Any day now...