clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

To Be or Not to Be: That is the Timbers' Question

New, comments

The next 14 days will tell us if the Portland Timbers are going to be in the Play-offs or on the outside looking in. In the next 14 days Portland plays 5 games and of the 5 four of the opponents they face are the 4 teams above Portland in the overall standings. 

The standings are as follows: (via Settingthetable)

Pos  ↓

GP  ↓

W  ↓

D  ↓

L  ↓

PTS  ↓

PPG  ↓

GPG  ↓

GF  ↓

GA  ↓

GD  ↓

LAST 5

1

Los Angeles Galaxy (W1)

25

13

9

3

48

1.92

1.40

35

20

15

WWWLW

2

FC Dallas (W2)

24

12

6

6

42

1.75

1.29

31

24

7

DWDWL

3

Seattle Sounders (W3)

24

11

8

5

41

1.71

1.46

35

27

8

DWWLW

4

Colorado Rapids

25

9

10

6

37

1.48

1.40

35

31

4

LWDWW

5

Real Salt Lake

21

10

6

5

36

1.71

1.43

30

16

14

WWLLW

6

Columbus Crew (E1)

23

9

7

7

34

1.48

1.04

24

22

2

DLWWL

7

Philadelphia Union (E2)

22

8

9

5

33

1.50

1.23

27

20

7

DWLDD

8

New York Red Bulls (E3)

24

6

12

6

30

1.25

1.54

37

33

4

LDLDL

9

Sporting Kansas City

23

7

9

7

30

1.30

1.39

32

30

2

DWDWL

10

Chivas USA

23

7

8

8

29

1.26

1.30

30

26

4

DDWLW

11

Houston Dynamo

23

6

10

7

28

1.22

1.22

28

28

0

WDLWD

12

DC United

21

6

9

6

27

1.28

1.38

29

33

-4

WDLWD

13

Portland Timbers

22

7

5

10

26

1.18

1.27

28

35

-7

WLDWD

14

San Jose Earthquakes

23

5

10

8

25

1.09

1.09

25

30

-5

DDLLD

15

New England Revolution

23

4

9

10

21

0.91

0.96

22

33

-11

LWDDL

16

Toronto FC 1

25

3

11

11

20

0.80

0.96

24

46

-22

LLLDD

17

Chicago Fire

22

2

13

7

19

0.86

1.04

23

30

-7

DLLDL

18

Vancouver Whitecaps 1

23

3

9

11

18

0.78

1.09

25

36

-11

LLDLW

Now Portland's next 5 games:

Date

Home

Away

8/14

Houston

Portland

8/17

Sporting KC

Portland

8/20

Portland

Vancouver

8/24

Portland

Chivas USA

8/27

D.C. United

Portland

So What?

Looking at the schedule and at the standings there are a couple of things that the Timbers need to do. The obvious answer would be to win games but as we have seen with almost all of MLS that is not always going to happen. So as of right now the lowest team in the play-offs is Chivas USA with 29 points and 1.26 points per game. Portland currently sits at 1.18 points per game. So Portland needs to bring their PPG average up by probably .1 or .25 to ensure the play-offs.

The easy answer to bringing their PPG average up they will need to stop dropping points at home and start, at a minimum, drawing on the road. However for you geeks out there, which I am a proud member of, lets take a look at the numbers.

Most experts say that 1.2 points per game is the threshold to making the MLS play-offs and if that is the case Portland needs to get to 41 points (34*1.2=40.8) to be just above 1.2 points per game. So with 26 points already obtained Portland will need to get 15 points out of the next 12 games to end up at 1.2 points per game. However I really think 46 points will be needed to get into the play-offs.

If 46 is the threshold that changes the points per game to 1.35. This means that Portland needs to get 20 points out of the next 12 games. 

Added on top of all of this if the fact that it is not only how many points you get but how many points the other teams are getting. This is why the next 5 games are critical. In reality the best possible scenario would be to get 9 points out the the 5 games. This would mean win both the home games and tie the road games and would also mean that Portland doesn't lose any ground on the home teams because both earned the same amount of points. 

With 9 points from the 5 games Portland would have 7 games left and 11 points to obtain to make the play-offs. Of those 7 games 3 are at home against opponents that are beatable (Houston, San Jose, New England) and 4 on the road (Philly, New York, RSL, Vancouver). 

Hopefully Portland comes out and plays better with the return of Diego Chara and possibly Captain Jack Jewsbury and plays a better game against Houston. Which will start the ball rolling for the end of the season push Portland needs. Remember 20 points over the final 12 games is what we are looking for.

*If Portland is still in the play-off hunt come September I will have a weekly side by side comparison of all the teams still in the hunt and their schedules.