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Crew Playoffs 4caster - Game 30

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Columbus swept their 2-game home stand, looking like a team focused on a deep playoff run. They will now travel to New England in a match-up of the two hottest teams in the Eastern Conference.

Ethan Finlay is fearless
Ethan Finlay is fearless
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Current Playoff Outlook: A Road Win Away From Playoffs

Last Week's Summary

Another good week of results starts of course with the Crew's home win over the last-place-but-still-not-Chivas-bad Montreal Impact.  I'll take the 3 points, but I didn't like seeing the end of game sloppiness that resulted in a missed 3-0 scoreline and nearly a 2-1 final.  Goal Differential looms large, as it's the second tiebreaker behind Wins.  Keep that in mind as you look at the standings in October.

Re-thinking the Revs Win:  It was a Good Thing

At first, I didn't think New England's win over Kansas City was really what Crew fans would have wanted.  About 2 months ago, I had said KC was far enough in front of the pack that they were already "in".  They've since gone 2-6, with their only win in the last 6 being against hapless Chivas TBD.  They're now only 2 points ahead of the Crew and face East-leading DC Friday night.  A loss in DC would make for a very shaky final 3 games for Peter Vermes and his rage (they face, Chicago, Philly and New York).  So the question to ask yourself is, "Self, would you like to see Toronto make the playoffs instead of SKC?"  If so, root accordingly.  It could absolutely happen.  While I still think they'll make the playoffs, SKC is demoted this week to "battling" status.  Personally, I hope they crash out and don't even make the post-season.  A Toronto-Columbus knockout Wild Card game at Crew Stadium would be pretty amazing, and isn't out of the realm of possibility.  4th time's a charm, right?

DC's 1-0 win over the Union meant that the Crew gained 3 points.  This was helpful, but was tempered by Toronto's win against Portland.  TFC still has a game in hand on Columbus, which if they win allows them to jump the Crew in the standings on a tiebreaker.  I had New York losing in LA, so while that loss was great it doesn't change my 4cast.

Overall, I was 4-2.  I missed the Revs win over the Sporks and thought Philly would be able to tie DC.  Happily wrong in both cases.

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

Current MLS Eastern Conference Standings

Standings_9-28_medium

The Race and 4cast - 4 Weeks Left

Looking ahead, I think a win in either New England or New York coupled with a final win at home vs. struggling Philadelphia would lock up Columbus' playoff berth.  However, a more likely scenario would be that the Crew get a point out of one of those two games and either 1 or 3 in Philly.  That would still be fantastic, giving Columbus a bit of breathing room going into their final home game.  With 4 points from their 3 game road swing, they would likely need just a tie at home against the Union to secure the playoffs, if that hadn't already been accomplished.

To be clear, no one wants to play Columbus right now - home or away.  Having won 5 of 7, the Crew are back to playing their own brand of possession-based soccer, but now are doing so with a stronger confidence and purpose.  Tony Tchani, Ethan Finlay, Eric Gehrig, Justin Meram and Bernardo Anor are all having their best seasons with the club.  Along with Wil Trapp, Pipa and Steve Clark, they have formed a new core; a New Crew, if you wil (and I wil) that is a joy to watch and difficult to beat.  But New England and New York are also playing well, and I'm not sure that Columbus takes 6 from making those two trips.  Should Columbus win either against New York or the Revs, they would be well-positioned to fight for the 2nd-4th playoff slots.  While DC is likely going to win the East handily, the rest of the spots will be closely slotted.

To spell it out, here's how I see the Crew doing week-by-week from here on out:

  • L @ New England,
  • T @ Philly,
  • L @ New York (Henry's last home game unless they make playoffs), and
  • W vs Philly

While I don't do percentages (how is 45% vs 58% 63% likely supposed to make me feel?), here's the range as I see it for now:

  • 45: Out
  • 46: Barely In.  Tiebreakers potentially involved.
  • 47-48: In.  Tiebreakers still potentially involved.
  • 49-54: 4th-2nd place
  • 55: 1st

Eastrace_09.28_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:

  • In: DC United
  • Battling for Final 4 Spots: Kansas City, Revs, Crew, Red Bulls, TFC, Philly
  • Out: Montreal, Chicago, Houston

Crew Playoff Breakdown

Category
Statistic Notes

4casted Pts Needed For Crew To Make Playoffs (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th)

2nd & 3rd - 53

4th - 51

5th - 46

Another bump upwards this week for 4th place, but a drop in 2nd place.

Current Crew 4cast

47

No change from last week

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

54

DC could clinch with win on Friday.

Estimated Playoff Clinch Date

Team-by-Team

DC - 10/11

SKC - 10/11

New England - 10/11

NY - 10/19

Columbus - 10/26

Estimated Playoff Elimination Date

Team-by-Team

Montreal - OUT (9/20)

Chicago - 10/5

Houston - 10/12

Philly - 10/18

Toronto - 10/26

Projected Additional Points Needed for Playoffs

3

One more win.

Crew could host MLS Cup against:

Vancouver, Portland

Only Vancouver is in playoff position.  This is a pipe dream.  The west owns 4 of the top 5 records in MLS.







Who Do I Root For This Week?

21 non-Crew games still matter for the Crew in the East.  4 of them are next Thursday (?!), Friday and Saturday.  Just like last week, there's very little overlap so you should be able to watch nearly every minute of the action (assuming of course that you're not blacked out by either Jim Beam or Time Warner Cable).

  • Chicago over Philly (Thursday, 8:00pm EST on ESPN2)
  • DC over Sporting KC (Friday, 8:00pm on NBCSN).  I mentioned this one earlier in the article... Are we seeing the end of KC's current generation, or is their current meltdown just due to lack of focus and not enough hacking of their opponents?
  • Houston over NYRB (Saturday, 6:00pm on NBCSN).  Starting 90 min before the Crew game, this would be best watched in the background while you make your famous "NotSo" chili in the kitchen.  Don't forget to "test" the chili often and open the windows.  Yes, I get it.  You named it "NotSo" chili b/c it's not so chilly.  Meaning it's spicy.  Because it's chili.
  • Galaxy over TFC (Saturday, 10:30pm on MLS Direct Kick/SyrupVision).

What if...


If... ...Then
Best Case
CHI over Philly
DC over SKC
Houston over NY
Crew over NE
LA over TFC
MTL over CHI


Bc_10-5_medium
Worst Case
Opposite Results of Best Case
Wc_10-5_medium
My Guess
CHI - Philly tie
SKC over DC
NY over Houston
NE over Crew
LA over TFC
MTL over CHI

Mg_10-5_medium

Basically, I think next week will be rough.  New York set to leapfrog Columbus again.

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