Mid-season playoff picture

The season is very close to the midway point. Not to be perverse, but I thought it would be fun to look at the playoff picture in the West, and ignore the bigger problems with the Timbers for a moment.

At the beginning of the year, based on reading lots of other people's predictions, I wrote on another forum that "I'm guessing something like 53 points will be needed for Western teams to make the playoffs. (Last year [2011] NYRB made it in with 46 and PTFC had 42). Maybe 40 will do it for the East." And "assuming that Salt Lake and LA are givens to make the playoffs, and that Chivas and San Jose are not--there are five very competitive teams in the West competing for three spots. We need to finish better than two of the following four teams: Colorado, Vancouver, Dallas, Seattle."

Timbers aside, things haven't worked out as expected. The Eastern conference is not nearly as weak relative to the West as predicted. Chivas and, especially, San Jose are playing much better than predicted, while LA and, especially, Dallas are playing worse.

Here are the current standings in the Western Conference based on goals per game. The actual standings (shown in parentheses) vary slightly from this because different teams have played different numbers of games.

1. SJ (1) 2.118

2. RSL (2) 1.778

3. Vanc (4) 1.655

4. Sea (3) 1.529

5. Col (5) 1.375

6. Chiv (7) 1.188

7. LA (6) 1.177

8. PTFC (8) 1.067

9. FCD (9) 0.824

Last year 46 points was enough to make the playoffs, and right now Colorado, the fifth place team, is on track to earn 46.75. Based on all this, and assuming equality between the conferences, I would guesstimate that 47 points is the target to make the playoffs. To do that, the Timbers need 31 points in 19 games, or 1.632 PPG. They have nine home games and ten away games. Obviously, there are lots of ways they could make 31 points. Here are just two scenarios:

Go 9-0-0 at home and go 0-6-4 on the road (roughly our away rate now and greatly improve our home rate).

Go 5-2-2 at home and go 2-0-8 on the road (roughly our home rate now and greatly improve our away rate).

Go 7-1-1 at home and go 1-3-6 on the road (split the difference; improve somewhat everywhere).

Alright guys, I don't believe I have to say this but, just in case, please do not submit anything racist, homophobic, sexist or otherwise not appropriate for even the younger Timbers fans.

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