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Crew Playoffs 4caster - Game 29

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While the Crew gained ground on nearly the entire Eastern Conference, a New York win against Seattle alters the overall 4cast in a bad way.

The Dude is focused
The Dude is focused
Sam Fahmi

Current Playoff Outlook: 6 Points To Go

Last Week's Summary

This was a good week of results for the Crew, as they gained on DC, Kansas City, New England, Philly, Houston and Chicago.  Gaining on Philly was key, in that it afforded them a 2-point cushion in 5th place, breaking a 3-week tie.  Still, they will need a few more good weeks before earning any breathing room in the crowded Eastern Conference.

Open Cup Hangover

Both teams that participated in the US Open Cup Final on Tuesday under-performed over the weekend.  It's easy to read now, but I thought Seattle would have ridden their momentum a bit and at least managed a tie in Harrison.  Instead, Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his third hat trick of 2014 and New York won their fourth game in their last six.  The Philadelphia Union could only tie Houston at home 0-0, in a perfect scoreline for many Eastern Conference teams watching the scoreboard.  Again, here I thought the Union would beat Houston. My predictions were 3-3, missing both those games as well as the DC-Chicago tie.

Here's the current standings, sorted in the standard MLS order: PTS, W, GD, GF.

Current MLS Eastern Conference Standings

Standings_09.21_medium

The Race and 4cast - 5 Weeks Left

This week sees the Red Bulls' stock rising and Philly's falling.  In they're-not-quite-dead news, Toronto beat up on Chivas TBD on Sunday for their first win since beating Columbus on August 9th.  If they beat Portland in their 1pm EST match this Saturday, they will temporarily pull ahead of the Crew on the wins tiebreaker... and into playoff position.  Looking down the road, their away match against the Galaxy would seem unwinnable, but they also still have a game in hand.  Toronto will make up that game on Wednesday, October 8th, when they host Houston.

With New York's win over Seattle, I'm now projecting them to end up in 4th and for the Crew to end in 5th.  While I'd love to say that Columbus will win lots of points on their New England-Philly-New York road trip, I'm thinking it's more likely that they'll get 1-4 points out of 9.

Note: Some values are not visible.

Eastrace_09.21_medium

CREW 4CAST: 5TH PLACE

Yellow = Crew's Pts earned.  Black = Bad Guys' Pts earned.  Gray = Potential Pts  Red = 4casted Pts

In-N-Out Burger Analysis:

After only tying this past weekend, and even as both teams have a game in hand, I'm calling it a season for both Chicago and Houston.  They play each other twice, which guarantees dropped points among them.  And even if Houston went 3-1-2 against their mostly difficult remaining schedule, their total of 44 points most likely won't be enough to get over the red line, now at 47.

  • In: DC United, Sporting Kansas City
  • Battling for Final 3 Spots: Revs, Crew, Red Bulls, Philly, TFC
  • Out: Montreal, Chicago, Houston

Crew Playoff Breakdown

Category
Statistic Notes

4casted Pts Needed For Crew To Make Playoffs (3rd, 4th, 5th)

3rd - 51

4th - 50

5th - 46

Significant jump this week as New York's win over Seattle shakes things up in the east.

Current Crew 4cast

47

I now have the Crew tying on the road against Philly, adding another point to their 4casted season total.

Current Points Needed to Clinch Playoffs (Any team in east)

55

No change from last week

Estimated Playoff Clinch Date

Team-by-Team

SKC - 10/11

New England - 10/11

DC - 10/12

NY - 10/19

Columbus - 10/26

Estimated Playoff Elimination Date

Team-by-Team

Montreal - OUT (9/20)

Chicago - 10/5

Houston - 10/12

Philly - 10/25

Toronto - 10/26

Projected Additional Points Needed for Playoffs

6

6 points over 5 games sounds borderline easy.  However, remember:

1) This is MLS, a league designed for parity.

2) Montreal, the Crew's next home opponent, is 2-2-1 in their last 5 and is playing with a new confidence.

3) The Crew's 3 road games in a row to start October are all against teams fighting for playoff spots.

Example Record needed for 6 points in final 5 games

2-3

Winning the remaining 2 home games could seal it... but that would mean Crew fans will be nail-biting until the last few hours of the season.  A road win would make the scenarios much better, and would also allow for the Crew to potentially host the Wild Card match on what I'm guessing will be 10/29.

Crew could host MLS Cup against:

Colorado, Vancouver

Only Vancouver is in playoff position.  Crew are 5 points behind FC Dallas, but Dallas has a much tougher schedule to finish off the season.  If Columbus goes 3-1-1 to close out their campaign, it's possible they could jump FCD and increase their chances of hosting MLS Cup.  Still a long shot.  Even if the Crew win out, they won't catch Seattle or LA.







Who Do I Root For This Week?

Now that we're ignoring Houston, Chicago and Montreal games, this should start to clear up a bit.  Still, there are 19 non-Crew games to go that as of now will affect their standings in the East.

  • Kansas City over New England (Friday night, 8pm EST).  This is a close one, as a tie would also keep both point totals down.  The question here is whether you believe both clubs are catchable for the Crew
  • Portland over Toronto (Saturday, 1pm EST).  Portland can really help out Columbus Saturday afternoon.  I'm predicting another TFC win, though.
  • DC over Philly (Saturday, 3pm EST) - 3 of the 4 teams the Crew are battling against in the East play their games well before Columbus does this week.
  • LA Galaxy over Red Bulls (Sunday, 8:30pm EST).  The Galaxy will have a lot to say about the Eastern Conference standings over the next two weeks, as they host both New York and Toronto.  They're in a struggle with Seattle for the Supporters' Shield and home field advantage in the playoffs, so they will be incented to win every game possible.  (Note: The league will be crapping itself the final two weeks of the season, as Seattle and LA play a home & away series to close out the regular season that will likely have large implications on determining the Supporters' Shield winner.)  Hopefully the Red Bulls send a strong team to El Salvador for their midweek CCL match, tiring them for a waiting LA team.

What if...


If... ...Then
Best Case
SKC beats NE
PTFC beats TFC
DC beats Philly
Columbus beats IMFC
Chicago beats Houston
LA beats NYRB


Bc_9-28_medium
  • Crew in 3rd
  • 5 pts clear of Philly for last playoff spot
Worst Case
Opposite Results of Best Case
Wc_9-28_medium
  • Crew in 7th; tied for 6th with TFC, but lose wins tiebreaker.  TFC will also have a game in hand.
  • Jiminy Crickets.  Even more points on the road will be needed, especially at Philly and New York.
My Guess
SKC - NE tie
TFC beats PTFC
DC - Philly tie
Columbus beats IMFC
Houston beats Chicago
LA beats NYRB

Mg_9-28_medium

  • Crew in 4th
  • Tied for 3rd on points with New England.  Revs have the tiebreaker (13 vs 11 wins)
  • Crew can jump Red Bulls with win & NY loss

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