- NYCFC are back in first place on points but still behind Toronto, who did not play, in PPG. This was a less than stellar week for results, largely because the Red Bulls got a win on the road in Vancouver. The competition to finish in the top 2 and sit out the first round of the playoffs is now very tight. NYC has 44 points but both the Red Bulls and TFC sit at 43. TFC also has a game in hand and 5 of its 7 remaining games at home. So despite NYC being technically in 1st place the club needs help — in the form of other teams beating TFC — to stay ahead of them. The other increased worry are the Red Bulls, who are a point behind and even on games played, but gained an advantage for themselves by finally winning a road game for the first time since the Red Bull Wedding on May 21. It was only their second Away win all year. This was big because they now have 4 of their remaining 6 games at Home. They last lost at Home on April 9 and won 9 out of 10 since then. If they win out at home (4 of 6) and NYC wins out at home (3 of 6) they leapfrog over NYC subject to a minimal likelihood of Away draws making a difference for NYC.
- As a result, if TFC does not collapse at least a little due to Giovinco’s injury, and if the Red Bulls stay true to their Home form, then NYC probably needs both to win out at Home and to get another Road win to stay in the top 2 spots. NYC’s last Away win was July 17 against montreal and they have only one Away win in their last 6 tries. Streaks seem inevitable while they are happening, but they all end, and NYC needs to end its modest winless road streak. It would also help if the Red Bulls undefeated home streak ends.
- Here are the PPG standings mentioned in the first sentence and the projected finish based on pure multiplication over 34 games. As I have previously noted, this late in the season the final projection becomes rather meaningless as a rather brief run of unexpected good or bad results can alter the finish considerably. I post it largely for archival purposes.
- You can see the tightness of the first 3 spots, a slight gap to the next two, and then the bigger gap to the remaining 5 teams vying for the last playoff spot.
- Playoff Clinching Update: NYC can guarantee finishing ahead of New England in a minimum of 2 games. SInce they play each other this weekend, that games counts as 2 and a win by NYC would ensure that NYC cannot finish below the Revs and mathematically has clinched finishing above 10th place. The remaining bottom teams have played fewer games and so it will take a minimum of 3 games for NYC to ensure finishing ahead of Chicago and Columbus, and 4 games to finish ahead of DCU and Orlando. Once NYC has mathematically achieved its magic number for 4 of those 5 teams it has guaranteed itself a playoff spot. Any non-win by NYC delays this as does any positive result by these teams. It seems likely NYC will clinch a playoff spot in the next 2-4 weeks at most. Regardless, the playoffs are a virtual certainty right now.
- Here is the updated chart of what some possible finishes get NYC in terms of a final points total.
Effectively, the 60-point mark of excellence will require no more losses, as does even 58. A finish in the range of 55-57 seems most likely, but as noted, an unusual run of good or bad results pushes higher or lower. It would be great if the team could return to its Away form of May through mid-July when it won 5 of 7 Away games. That run defines NYC’s success this year. It is the reason a playoff spot is all but guaranteed and a top 2 finish is in sight.
- Finally, the thrilling Home win against DC United leaves the East/West and H/A splits as follows:
v West: 5-2-1 2.00 PPG
v East: 7-6-7 1.40 PPG
Home 6-3-5 1.64 PPG
Away 6-5-3 1.50 PPG
- The anomalies persist: if NYC did as well against the somewhat weaker East as it does against the West it would be running away with the COnference. Similarly, NYC’s home record is not nearly as impressive as the Away record, even though they are moderately better at Home. Normal teams are much, much, better at Home than Away. Here is a look at the East Conference Home PPG standings to bring that into focus:
NYC sits in Fifth Place, barely ahead of the real-life 9th Place Chicago Fire. NYC’s record of only 1 win in its first 9 Home games kept them from running away with the conference.