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The chase for the playoffs

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Not many would have thought, me included, after the dismal game at Sporting Kansas City that the Portland Timbers would be any where near a playoff spot. Yet here they are in the hunt for not only the 10th spot but only 4 points off the 8th spot, however the 8th spot is Real Salt Lake and they have 3 games in hand having only played 23 games.

If the season ended right now Portland would be on the outside looking in due to tiebreakers. For those visual learners I nabbed this from the MLS website: (after the jump)

The three top teams from each conference:

Western Conference

PTS

GP

GD

LA Galaxy

51

26

17

Seattle Sounders FC

45

26

9

FC Dallas

43

26

6

Eastern Conference

PTS

GP

GD

Columbus Crew

40

25

5

Sporting Kansas City

36

25

5

Houston Dynamo

35

26

2

And now the Wildcard race:

Wild Card Race

PTS

GP

GD

Colorado Rapids

41

27

5

Real Salt Lake

36

23

12

Philadelphia Union

34

24

6

New York Red Bulls

32

26

4

Portland Timbers

32

26

-8

Chivas USA

31

26

3

D.C. United

31

24

-1

San Jose Earthquakes

25

25

-8

Chicago Fire

24

25

-5

New England Revolution

23

26

-13

Toronto FC

23

27

-23

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

18

25

-16

Looking at the table there is no way Portland can catch any of the West's top 3, nor will the catch Colorado. RSL has been in a funk and despite the 3 games in hand they could be caught but that is still unlikely. So the most logical position(s) that Portland would nab is the 9th or 10th position.

So using my handy dandy excel knowledge and some basic math skills I created the final standings chart again :) (remember these charts are ordered based on current standings but the projected number could place another team higher)

Eastern Conference:

Club

PTS

GP

PPG

Total Points

HGP

Home pts

Home ppg

AGP

Away pts

Away ppg

Total points H/A

Columbus Crew

40

25

1.60

54

13

28

2.2

12

12

1.0

54

Sporting Kansas City

36

25

1.44

49

11

22

2.0

14

14

1.0

51

Houston Dynamo

35

26

1.35

46

14

27

1.9

12

8

0.7

44

Philadelphia Union

34

24

1.42

48

12

21

1.8

12

13

1.1

48

New York Red Bulls

32

26

1.23

42

12

20

1.7

14

12

0.9

43

D.C. United

31

25

1.24

42

12

15

1.3

13

16

1.2

42

Chicago Fire

24

25

0.96

33

12

14

1.2

13

10

0.8

33

New England Revolution

23

26

0.88

30

13

15

1.2

13

8

0.6

30

Toronto FC

23

27

0.85

29

13

17

1.3

14

6

0.4

30

Western Conference:

Club

PTS

GP

PPG

Total Points

HGP

Home pts

Home ppg

AGP

Away pts

Away ppg

Total points H/A

LA Galaxy

51

26

1.96

67

13

29

2.2

13

22

1.7

67

Seattle Sounders FC

45

26

1.73

59

12

22

1.8

14

23

1.6

59

FC Dallas

43

26

1.65

56

14

27

1.9

12

16

1.3

55

Colorado Rapids

41

27

1.52

52

12

22

1.8

15

19

1.3

53

Real Salt Lake

36

23

1.57

53

13

27

2.1

10

9

0.9

51

Portland Timbers

32

26

1.23

42

14

26

1.9

12

6

0.5

40

Chivas USA

31

26

1.19

41

12

16

1.3

14

15

1.1

41

San Jose Earthquakes

25

25

1.00

34

14

16

1.1

11

9

0.8

33

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

18

25

0.72

24

11

14

1.3

14

4

0.3

26

My calculations would put Portland on the outside looking in, mainly due to the fact that Portland has 6 points on the road. Looking at schedule Portland should win all of their home games and should beat Vancouver. That would give them 12 points, which would put them at 42 points instead of 40 and in the playoffs. Also if they can come away with a win and 1 tie from their remaining away games that would push them further up the standings to the 8th or 9th spot.

Bottom line is that 42 points or 12 points out of the next 8 games makes the playoffs.