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Crew Playoffs 4caster - Game 22

When road ties feel like "points lost", that's usually a good sign. The Crew have seized momentum and are returning to Columbus for a 3-game home stand that will define the season.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Current Playoff Outlook: Way More Fun Than Last Year

I kinda freaked out late last week because of silly season.  This has never happened.  After the "Biggie States Playa" announcement broke, I couldn't accomplish the most basic of tasks.  If I knew any key information pertaining to national security, I would have spilled those beans.  Beans.  Magical Beans.  Beanstalk.  Jack.  JackMac.  Montreal Impact.  Crap!

Anyway, this is fun.  The Crew had about 4 point-blank chances to score on Saturday night; 1 worked out.  That's not going to win you championships.  At the same time, I don't remember the last time we went into Bridgeview and bossed around that red team. (Maybe it's because they let go of Chris Rolfe?)  So while a tie on the road keeps the playoff train truckin' down the highway, it's not going to fly to continue tying bad teams.  The Crew's upcoming schedule is lighter than an anorexic grasshopper, with 2 home games and then a 4-game stretch against 3 of the bottom 4 teams in the league.  Of a possible 18 points, earning 10 should be considered standard and 12-14 good against those opponents.

My breakdown of the Crew's position in the MLS East:

Statistic Notes

Projected Pts To Win the East

61 Starting to normalize in the low 60s.  As I said last week, I still don't believe DC is for real.  Was Sunday's implosion vs Houston a sign of things to come?

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

41 Philly is about to announce that the Colombian Mundialista Valdes is back.  Beasley just arrived in Houston.  Chicago might land Mr. Jones.  Columbus is going to sign BSP.  This number will end up around 45.
Current Crew Points
27 4 points higher than the same point last year.

Projected Additional Points Needed for Playoffs

14 41-27 = 14.

Example Record Needed for 14 points


Given their opponents, I upped their wins to at least 4.  They'd need 5-4-3 to get to 45 points.

PPG Needed to Make Playoffs


14/12 = 1.17.  18/12 (if they were to need 45 points)= 1.5

Who or What Do I Root For This Week?

When you're grinding out in the middle of the table, the teams hopelessly far away in both directions are those for whom you cheer.  These teams are becoming clearer every week.  Montreal and KC have booked their spots in this respect for the rest of the season; we'll hold off any other for now.  When they play eastern conference teams, it's time to pay attention.  Your teams this week:

  • Montreal over Philly
  • RSL over DC
  • Chicago - NY tie?  The Crew play NY again, but not Chicago.  In that respect, Columbus owns their own fate vs NY a bit more.  I really don't see Chicago making a run, so hurting a Red Bulls team that the Crew can still leapfrog seems like the right way to go.  But that Jermaine Jones thing... maybe a tie is the safest Crew-flavored outcome.
  • Seattle over Houston. This game's in Seattle on national TV (of course).  I'm not saying you need to root *for* Seattle, but a Dynamo loss would help to keep them from threatening your beloved Crew.
What if...

If... ...Then

Best Case

Crew beats TFC
Montreal beats Philly
RSL beats DC
NY-CHI tie

This scenario would put the Crew in 4th place on both Points and PPG.  The Red Bulls would be just behind in both categories.

Worst Case
TFC, Philly, NY and DC win.
Crew sign Ray Rice.

This would put the Crew back under the playoff line, actually in 7th by virtue of losing the goal differential tiebreaker to Philly.

Plus, Ray Rice knocked out his fiance.  With his big muscles and an NFL fist.  So that's probably a tricky signing to explain.

My Guess
Crew beats TFC
Philly beats Montreal
New York wastes Chicago
RSL beats DC

The Crew keep 5th place to themselves and live to fight another week.  Chicago drifting away, Philly coming into focus as a key 2014 rival.

By the way, the Union and Crew play each other 2 of their final 3 games, ending on the last day of MLS' regular season in Crew Stadium.  So, there's that.