I don’t think either Toronto or Chicago will finish with 68 points. If they do NYC is not catching them. I do think it will take more than 60 points to win the East (and therefore almost certainly also win the SS). It might even take more than 60 points to finish second.
So I heavily adjusted the what if table to add 4 point values of 60 or higher.
That is a minimum of 8 wins in the last 15 games to at least be in the mix. Let’s play out the 63 point target breaking it down to Home and Away. NYC has 8 Home Games and 7 Road games remaining. A record of 7-0-1 at home and 2-3-2 Away would get the 63 points. Make sure the Home draw is not TFC or Chicago and the 3 Away losses are not TFC or Chicago, and NYC will probably have done most of what is necessary to catch one or both without needing much help. It is not mathematiclly guaranteed to be enough, but it makes the probabilities look pretty good.
In the other direction, to give an idea of the cushion NYC has before it could slip to Fifth Place and face an elimination road playoff game, the curent team in 5th place (Orlando) would need to go 8-2-4 to get 57 points. They have 14 games remaining with 6 Home and 8 Away. Win all 6 at home and they still have to go 2-2-4 Away just to get 57 points. That seems very unlikely. Unless NYC falls off a fair bit, it should not cause any worry about finishing below 4th Place. Orlando fans are very unhappy about the low rankings they have been getting from MLS writers lately. But they have a -7 GD, the benefit of a lot of 1 goal wins, and an unfavorable schedule.
Mind Your Draws
NYC is behind the leaders because it dropped too many points at home and failed to add some cheap 1 point draws on the road. At home, NYC has dropped more points (7), than TFC and Chicago have combined (6.) Neither leader has lost at home.
TFC has the same number of road wins as NYCFC does and Chicago has 2 fewer (Chicago has 1 road game in hand).
TFC also has 2 more road points than NYC because it earned 2 additional draws, not wins. NYC’s road problem is that when it doesn’t win, it loses. NYC is tied for most Away wins in the East, but only 4 East teams have more road losses, and only 3 East teams have as many or fewer points from Away draws. Away draws aren’t sexy, but they are the bread and butter of Away competence. Not getting road draws and the Home loss to Orlando is why NYC is 5 points back.
Another way to look at it is NYC has 2 Home draws and only 1 on the road. That kills because Home draws mean points dropped while Away Draws are points earned. Flip that in a favorable fashion so NYC has 1 Home Draw and 2 Away. Vonverting one Home draw into a win adds 2 points. Make one Away Loss into a Draw adds 1. That would leave NYC just 2 points behind both East leaders even with the extra Home Loss worth 3 points. Drawing more at home than on the road is not something a top contender can afford to do.
Team 2017 is 3 points ahead of Team 2016 after 19 games. The big advantage Team 2017 has is 8H/7A remaining compared to 6H/9A for 2016.