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Crew Playoffs 4caster - Game 21

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With two wins in a row, the Crew have quickly saved a season that felt like it was slipping away. If an impact striker is on the horizon, are playoffs once again an expectation?

Happy 40th, Frankie!
Happy 40th, Frankie!
Jamie Sabau

Current Playoff Outlook: Totally Vibin' on Good Waves

Columbus' two straight wins have quelled the worries of many an unstable Crew fan.  Does it matter that those wins were against the worst team in the league and a team on an epic nose-dive?  It does, but that doesn't mean fans should still be in nail-biting mode.  Even if MLS produces only 3-4 "good" teams in 2014, 10 are going to the playoffs.  Let's approach it this week like birthday boy Frankie Hedjuk will:  Smile from ear to ear and enjoy being in a great position to go ruin Chicago's week.  Of course, he lives every day like it's his birthday.  Because he's Frankie.

My breakdown of the Crew's position in the MLS Eastern Conference:

Category
Statistic Notes

Projected Pts To Win the East

62 Sporting KC won against Toronto, with the Hebrew Hammer between the pipes.  KC seems destined to win the East again.

Projected Pts For Crew To Make Playoffs (5th Place in Eastern Conf)

40 I keep saying this, but it continues to be true: No team has ever reached the playoffs with less than 43.
Current Crew Points
26 We beat a New England team that is in freefall.  Good!

Projected Additional Points Needed for Playoffs

14 40-26 = 14.

Example Record Needed for 14 points

3-5-5 At this point, Crew should have their sights on something other than 5th place.  4th place at least hosts the Wild Card playoff, and 3rd means you avoid the #1 seeded team (KC) until the Conference Finals.

PPG Needed to Make Playoffs

1.1

14/13= 1.1

However, to get to the historical standard of 49 points, they would need a 1.77 PPG... but that's looking less necessary each week.







Who or What Do I Root For This Week?

First, shout out to those who rooted last week.  Between the best-case scenario for the Crew working out and all the rain for my yard, you really outdid yourself with the rooting and the hoping and whatnot.

Next, congratulations are in order to Sporting KC.  With 38 points and 13 games to go, they're far enough ahead of the rest of the conference that I'm calling it: Sporks in playoffs (Waits for champagne pop).  Note to KC: Please keep beating our rivals.

Now, on to who to root for this week...

  • Looking at games involving teams above the Crew in the standings, here are your new BFFs: The Ref, Montreal and Houston.  DC and Toronto actually play each other tonight.  In this match, hope for a tie and a preposterous amount of cards.  Some might even say an amount of cards bordering on... insanity (Hi, @gregulator614).  Then root for Montreal to take down their rival (could happen) and for Houston to snap out of it and win for their first time since May 17.  Tangent: Houston is on an 8-game non-winning streak, but they're not the first to do that this season.  Chicago, Chivas MLS, Columbus and Dallas all had 8 game runs without wins.  New England's active streak of 8 losses also puts them in this group, and Philly had a 9 game span without wins.  All this to say that the Dynamo are very much due for a win, plus they're at home.  Orange slices for everyone!  (Is that how they celebrate?  Should be.)
  • Looking just behind the Crew in the standings, you'll want to pay attention tonight, tonight, toniiiight.  In East vs West match-ups, obviously pick Rapids over New England, Caps over the Fire and Salt Lake over New York.  On the weekend, the Red Bulls and the Revs kick off 90 minutes before the Crew do.  One could argue the best bet there is a tie, because the Crew could gain 2 points on both teams with a win over Chicago.  However, I think New York is more dangerous, plus the Crew controls its destiny against the Revs with two more games this year.  I'd rather see a New York loss in that one.
What if...
First off, last week's best case scenario totally happened!  Beginning-of-column-section's luck?  Who knows.  In fact, if I had included the SKC-Toronto game, I'd have had TFC losing that one, too.  So it was even more perfecter than imagined.


If... ...Then

Best Case

7/30 - 8/1
DC - TFC tie
Rapids beat Revs
Caps beat Fire
RSL beats NYRB
SKC beats Philly

8/2
Crew destroy Fire
Montreal beats TFC
Revs beat NYRB
Houston beats DC

This scenario would put the Crew in 3rd place on points, 1 point above TFC.  They would be 4th on PPG, just a hair behind Toronto.

If DC beats TFC instead of tying them, Columbus would be in 3rd in both points and PPG.  I'd rather both teams only get 1 point out of their match, though, b/c it makes both easier to catch that way.  Gotta think we can still catch both.

Worst Case
7/30 - 8/1
Wins:
TFC, Revs, Fire, Red Bulls, Philly

8/2
Wins:
Chicago, TFC, NYRB, DC
If all the results went this way, the Crew would be in a 4 way (!) tie with New England, Philly and Chicago for 5th - 8th place at 26 points.  Their PPG would be 1.18 and they'd be tied for 6th-8th along with Revs and Union on that stat.
My Guess
7/30 - 8/1
DC - TFC tie
Rapids beat Revs
Caps beat Fire
RSL beats NYRB
SKC beats Philly

8/2
Crew tie Fire
Montreal ties TFC
Revs ties NYRB
Houston beats DC

I actually think all the midweek results will go the Crew's way.  If the Fire get Jermaine Jones, that could significantly improve their playoff chances... so I'm glad they're going to lose to Vancouver.

On Saturday, I see a flurry of ties followed by Houston getting off the schnide and beating DC.

This will keep the Crew in 4th place on points with 27 points, 2 points clear of New York with 25 and 3 ahead of New England for the last playoff spot.

With nearly 2/3 of the season complete, this would project the 5th place spot in the East at 39 points.  As I've said about 5 times in this column, that's unheard of.