Current Playoff Outlook: Golden
Last Week's Summary
(Editor's Note: Unbelievably, I lost about 2 hours of work right as I was finishing up this article. You can probably guess who I blamed.)
It was a near best-case scenario of stuff for Crew fans over the last 5 days. To recap the top 8 results:
- Toronto lost on Wednesday.
- New England didn't win on Saturday afternoon.
- Columbus won on the road, eliminating Philly.
- Toronto lost on Saturday.
- Houston lost, eliminating themselves.
- See #1.
- See #4.
- See #s 6 and 7.
The shocker of the weekend was that Toronto *didn't* fire Greg Vanney. He must have a video of the Mayor acting unprofessionally... Or perhaps they're waiting until next Saturday's listless home tie vs rivals and sponsor-stealers Montreal to drop the ax. They're certainly experts at firing coaches; I'll let them call the shots when it comes to labour issues.
Regardless, The New Columbus Crew SC Blues Explosion went rope-a-dope on Philly Saturday night in the most thrilling win of the season. Not only was the 3-goal comeback reportedly unprecedented (via @), it was accomplished in less than the time it takes to, say, go to the bathroom at PPL Park (Sorry, Greg). Even more importantly, it meant truckloads to the team's chances of hosting a playoff match in a couple weeks.
Here's the current look, sorted in the standard MLS order: PTS, W, GD, GF.
Current MLS Eastern Conference Standings
The Race & 4cast - 2 Weeks Left
The race is pretty much over, but there's plenty of jostling to be done. Here's how I see the Crew doing week-by-week from here on out:
- L @ New York (Potentially Henry's last home game), and
- W vs Philly
Hot or Not?
Seem like Columbus has been pretty good lately? You're right. Damn good... and HOT! Here's a chart showing the points earned by all teams over their last 13 games:
Below is a chart that shows the point totals and 9 scenarios for both Columbus' and Toronto's results over the last two weeks of the season. The Crew's scenarios are across the top, and TFC's are down the left. Columbus' point total is included in the boxes. There are 81 potential permutations of wins, losses and ties. 1 favors Toronto (in black), the other 80 favor Columbus (in gold).
Here's the updated view of the race:
Yellow = Crew's Pts earned. Black = Bad Guys' Pts earned. Gray = Potential Pts Red = 4casted Pts
Crew Playoff Breakdown
--This is where I lost a crap ton of writing. I had determined many of the scenarios in which Columbus could end up in whichever place. Basically, to get 2nd or 3rd the Crew would have to win both their games and get a lot of help. If they tie New York next week, they can potentially get 4th and host the Red Bulls. If they lose to New York next week, they'll end in 5th.--
Estimated Playoff Clinch Date
DC United - IN (10/3)
New England - IN (10/11)
Sporting Kansas City - IN (10/11)
NY - IN (10/12)
Columbus - 10/18
Estimated Playoff Elimination Date
Montreal - OUT (9/20)
Chicago - OUT (10/5)
Philly - OUT (10/11)
Houston - OUT (10/12)
Toronto - 10/18
Crew could host MLS Cup against:
Only Vancouver is in playoff position. Columbus could catch FC Dallas if Crew wins out, Dallas loses their final 2.
Who Do I Root For The Last 2 Weeks?
There are 4 non-Crew games left that will impact Columbus' final standing in the East. As this is my last 4caster, here they all are:
- Houston over New England (Thursday, 10/16 at 8:00pm on ESPN2). Columbus can catch New England if it gains 4 points on them in the last 2 weeks.
- Philly over Sporting Kansas City (Saturday, 10/18 at 7:00pm on MLS Live). Now that we've eliminated the Union, we need their help. Like with the Revs, Columbus can catch Kansas City if it gains 4 points on them in the last 2 weeks.
- Toronto over New England (Saturday, 10/25 at 7:30pm on MLS Live). This is of course dependent on either Columbus getting at least a point or Toronto tying or losing to Montreal this weekend. If none of those things happen, a tie or Toronto loss is first order of business.
- Sporting Kansas City - New York (Sunday, 10/26 at 8:30pm on ESPN2). Tough to tell here. I'm betting it will be a "Where would you rather go to play the Wild Card game?" game. If that's the case, I'd rather see the Crew go to Kansas City. If the Crew beat both New York and Philly, this game could determine if Columbus ends in 3rd or 4th.
My Final 4cast: No more 4casts
This column has been fun to write over the last couple years, but life beckons. This is my final Crew playoff predictor thingy. I hope you've enjoyed them. This time of year, the pro journos take over anyway; I will leave you in their capable hands. Go Crew!