NWSL Playoff Picture

Lots of ifs remain, but the picture is a little clearer.

As the inaugural season of the NWSL begins to wind down, the league today released a breakdown of the playoff picture, which you might find helpful as the top four teams in the league -Sky Blue FC, Portland Thorns FC, FC Kansas City, and the Western New York Flash-continue to jockey for position and the remaining teams try to move up the table.

Where the Thorns stand: An 8-4-3 record, 27 points (4 behind first place Sky Blue, 1 ahead of third place FC Kansas City), seven games remaining, and a magic number of 15.

NWSL press release in full:

2013 NWSL PLAYOFF PICTURE

CHICAGO (July 19, 2013) - With five weeks left in the inaugural National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) season, the playoff picture is starting to come into focus.

Six of the league's eight teams have a realistic shot at making the postseason as all four playoff spots remain up for grabs, with a seventh team - Seattle Reign FC - still holding onto an outside shot of making the playoffs.

As yet, no team has been eliminated from the playoffs, although the Washington Spirit could confirm their fate this weekend if results go against them.

Week 15 Scenarios

The Washington Spirit will be eliminated from the 2013 NWSL Playoffs if...

... the Spirit lose at the Red Stars AND the Flash win vs. Sky Blue FC.

OR

... the Spirit lose at the Red Stars AND the Flash draw vs. Sky Blue FC.*

OR

... the Spirit draw at the Red Stars AND the Flash win vs. Sky Blue FC.*

*Washington would be eliminated because the Flash hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Spirit. Tiebreaker scenarios come into play when a team's Magic Number or Elimination Number is 1.

Magic Number or Elimination Number for all eight teams:

#

Team

Pts

GD

GR

Max

Magic #

Elim. #

1

Sky Blue FC

31

10

6

49

11

--

2

Portland Thorns FC

27

5

7

48

15

--

3

FC Kansas City

26

7

6

44

16

--

4

Western New York Flash

24

8

6

42

18

--

5

Boston Breakers

20

1

7

41

--

18

6

Chicago Red Stars

19

-4

7

40

--

17

7

Seattle Reign FC

15

-10

6

33

--

10

8

Washington Spirit

7

-17

7

28

--

5

Glossary - Pts: Points, GD: Goal Difference, GR: Games Remaining, Max: Maximum points possible

**The Magic Number or Elimination Number for each team does not reflect scenarios that require tiebreakers. Tiebreaker scenarios are required when a team's Magic Number or Elimination Number is 1.

Formulas for Magic and Elimination numbers

Magic Number formula

The Magic Number for a team to clinch a playoff spot is determined by subtracting that team's current points total from the maximum number of points possible for the fifth-place team, then adding one.

For example:

Team

Pl

Pts

Max

Sky Blue FC

1st

31

49

Boston Breakers

5th

20

41

Then the Magic Number for Sky Blue FC to clinch a playoff spot is: 41 - 31 + 1 = 11

Elimination Number

The Elimination Number for a team to confirm their exclusion from the playoffs is determined by subtracting that team's maximum number of possible points from the current number of points of the fourth-place team, then adding one.

Examples:

Team

Pl

Pts

Max

Western New York Flash

4th

24

42

Washington Spirit

8th

7

28

Then the Elimination Number for the Washington Spirit is: 28 - 24 + 1 = 5

Team

Pl

Pts

Max

Western New York Flash

4th

24

42

Seattle Reign FC

7th

15

33

The the Elimination Number for Seattle Reign FC is: 33 - 24 + 1 = 10

Tiebreaker procedures

TO BREAK A TIE IN THE STANDINGS

If two or more teams are tied on points at the end of the regular season, the tie will be broken through the following steps:

Two teams

1.Head-to-head record

2.Overall goal difference

3.Overall goals scored

4.Head-to-head road record

5.Goal difference in all road games

6.Goals scored in all road games

7.Head-to-head home record

8.Goal difference in all home games

9.Goals scored in all home games

10.Coin toss

Three teams

1.Points per game against other two teams

2.Overall goal difference

3. See tiebreaker procedure for two-team scenarios

NOTE: If two teams are still tied after the third team has advanced via the tiebreaker, the tie will be broken using the two-team tiebreaker rules.

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