Playoff Positioning: Moving on Up

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers were the only team in a current playoff spot to move up in the standings this last week. The other two movers were those currently on the outside looking in, San Jose and Vancouver.

Portland's win against Colorado was not a pretty win but what made it pretty was the three points they earned. Earning those three points was critical in taking a step towards making the MLS playoffs for the first time. If Portland loses or ties they could have been 3 points from 8th position. The big winners of last weekend were the San Jose Earthquakes and Vancouver Whitecaps as each earned a big road win to boost their playoff hopes.

The playoff race has tightened up considerably and could get even tighter if RSL continues to free fall and Vancouver and San Jose continue to win.

Current Standings

As a reminder here are the current standings:

# Club PTS GP PPG W L T GF GA GD HG HGD RG RGD
1 Seattle Sounders FC 50 28 1.79 15 8 5 38 28 10 26 17 12 -7
2 Real Salt Lake 48 30 1.6 14 10 6 53 39 14 28 14 25 0
3 Portland Timbers 46 29 1.59 11 5 13 45 31 14 27 16 18 -2
4 LA Galaxy 45 29 1.55 13 10 6 46 36 10 26 18 20 -8
5 Colorado Rapids 45 30 1.5 12 9 9 37 31 6 22 9 15 -3
6 Vancouver Whitecaps 41 29 1.41 11 10 8 42 38 4 27 11 15 -7
7 San Jose Earthquakes 41 30 1.37 11 11 8 31 41 -10 20 8 11 -18
8 FC Dallas 40 29 1.38 10 9 10 40 42 -2 23 8 17 -10
9 Chivas USA 26 30 0.87 6 16 8 29 54 -25 17 -6 12 -19

Remaining Schedule

The majority of teams have 5 games remaining, the Seattle Sounders have 6 and three teams have only 4 remaining (Real Salt Lake and Colorado).

Colorado Vancouver Dallas LAG Portland Seattle San Jose RSL
Seattle RSL Columbus at Portland LAG New York
at Vancouver
At San Jose Portland at RSL Chivas at Vancouver at Colorado at Chivas FC Dallas
Vancouver at Seattle Chicago Montreal Seattle Vancouver Colorado at Portland
at Vancouver at Colorado Seattle San Jose RSL Portland at LAG Chivas
Colorado at San Jose at Seattle at Chivas at FC Dallas FC Dallas
LAG

Actual/Predicted Results

I updated the predicted points to reflect the current remaining schedule and I also included the point differential in the actual result column.

FC Dallas

Dallas Predicted result Actual Result
at Colorado loss loss
at New York loss Loss
Columbus win
at RSL loss
Chicago win
Seattle tie
at San Jose loss
7 Points 0

San Jose

San Jose Predicted result Actual Result
Vancouver tie tie
at RSL loss Win
at Chivas win
Colorado win
at LAG loss
FC Dallas loss
6 points 3

Vancouver Whitecaps

Vancouver Predicted result Actual Result
at San Jose tie tie
at montreal loss Win
RSL tie
Portland tie
at Seattle loss
at Colorado loss
Colorado win
5 points 3

Colorado Rapids

Colorado Predicted result Actual Result
FC Dallas Win Win
at Portland loss Loss
Seattle tie
At San Jose loss
Vancouver Win
at Vancouver loss
4 points 0

LAG

LAG Predicted result Actual Result
At DC united Win Tie
Seattle Tie tie
at Portland Loss
Chivas Win
Montreal Win
San Jose Win
at Seattle loss
9 points -2

Portland

Portland Predicted result Actual Result
At Chivas Win tie
Colorado Win win
LAG Win
at Vancouver tie
Seattle tie
RSL tie
at Chivas Win
9 points -2

RSL

RSL Predicted result Actual Result
at Seattle tie Loss
San Jose win Loss
at Vancouver tie
FC Dallas win
at Portland tie
Chivas win
8 points -5

Seattle

Seattle Predicted result Actual Result
RSL tie Win
at LAG tie tie
New York Win
at Colorado tie
Vancouver win
Portland tie
at FC Dallas loss
LAG tie
9 points 2

Max Points

Here are the max points the teams can earn if they win all of their remaining games.

Team Points games games left max points
Seattle 50 28 6 68
RSL 48 30 4 60
Portland 46 29 5 61
Colorado Rapids 45 30 4 57
LA Galaxy 45 29 5 60
Vancouver 41 29 5 56
San Jose 41 30 4 53
FC Dallas 40 29 5 55
Chivas 26 30 4 38

Predicted Playoff Position

Team Predicted points Predicted total Playoff seed
Seattle 9 59 1
RSL 8 56 2
Portland 9 55 3
Colorado Rapids 4 49 5
LA Galaxy 9 54 4
Vancouver 8 49 6
San Jose 6 47 7
FC Dallas 7 47 8

Looks like Vancouver just misses out on the playoffs because of the total wins tiebreaker. I would also venture to guess that a team from the East will win the SS. As for Portland's chance I think they have a chance at earning the #2 seed if they earn a win against RSL or one of the Cascadia Cup matches. Either is a possibility but if RSL continues to free fall we could knock them down a few rungs with a win.

Portland just needs 4 more points to ensure they make the playoffs. If they earn more than 4 points it will move them up the standings and into a better playoff position.

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