So I begged off my annual table thread on MLSN&A -- partly because the new forum software sucks for that sort of thing, partly because I never got around to updating my old spreadsheet for the new playoff system. But today I finally sat down and updated the spreadsheet. I'm still not going to do a full-fledged playoff numbers thread. The forum software still sucks. And truth be told, there's really not much of a playoff race anywhere in MLS -- except for DCU. So I am starting this thread here to focus on DCU's playoff chances. So how are things shaping up? Things are pretty damn ugly. ONE For year's I've been saying that it takes just around 1.33 PPG not to make the playoffs, but to be in the playoff conversation. That is true this year as well. But it's only true in the Western Conference. VAN probably will make the 5th spot in the West with around 45 PTS. In fact, 45 PTS might be a high estimate. Because there are only 9 teams in the West, you really only need to be around the 44th percentile to make the cut. If you look at the 44th percentile for PPG in the West, you're actually only projecting about 42 PTS. The East is a totally different ballgame. In the East, with 10 teams, to make the cut you've gotta be around the 50th percentile. If you look at the 50th percentile for PPG in the East, you're actually projecting a whopping 52 PTS. Yes, that's right: I'm saying for Eastern teams it's going to take on the order of 10 more points to make the playoffs than Western teams: 52 PTS vs 42 PTS. (I can explain those numbers in greater detail, but I'm not sure anyone cares.) Those are just estimates, but they speak to a reality: it's a whole lot harder to make the playoffs in the East. TWO We've really gotta worry about two teams: MTL and CMB. But compared to them we've got a really favorable strength of schedule. Strength of Schedule, factoring home and away: CMB: 1.63 MTL: 1.52 DCU: 1.29 And it's arguably even better than those numbers indicate. Look at United's next five games: Code: CMB: @.NYR __CHV __PHI __SKC @.DCU __TFC ----- @.CHI ----- ----- ----- ----- MTL: @.CHI __SKC ----- @.HOU @.TFC __NER DCU: __NER @.PHI @.POR @.TFC __CMB @.CHI ----- __CHV ----- ----- ----- ----- (How shitty is this new software? That one little table was a PITA to post. And I had to fiddle with it in all sorts of asinine ways. Ugh ...) Those are all terrible teams, bottom of the table, already effectively of our the playoffs teams. Now even playing well, there's no way this team would sweep those games. But the reality is, any legitimate playoff team should probably average around 2 PPG against teams like those. If we can't get 2 PPG against those teams, then we shouldn't make the playoffs, and the truth is we won't. THREE Even if we average 2 PPG over these next 5 games, it'll probably still come down to the season's second to last game against CMB. Again: even if we do really well in the next five, if we drop the sixth game, it's probably over. And that's all assuming MTL doesn't pull of a miracle run. FOUR This is where things get really ugly. Here's the dreaded chart. The chart shows rolling 5-game PPG averages (which is also why it starts only with the 5th game) for DCU, CMB and MTL. Our competitors are doing extremely well when they need it the most. We are doing extremely poorly now that we really need the points. Nothing in this chart should give you any confidence about DCU making the playoffs. To have any realistic chance of making the playoffs, we're going to have to at least double our current PPG 5-game running average. MTL, DCU, CMB: Rolling 5-Game PPG Averages Abandon all hope? If we can't beat NER and CHV at home in our next two games, then yes. And, finally, yes I indeed did guarantee a while back in a now infamous thread that DCU would make the playoffs. I was wrong. But, honestly, who the fcuk predicted that these no-good bastards would fcuk up this badly? Not me! I had confidence! I was sure of them! I was an idiot.