There’s one game left to finish this week due to the rain delay in DC, but neither team (DC and RSL) are of much interest so I’m putting this up now.
- Hello Second Place. It’s been a while since we’ve seen you. I’m exactly not sure when, but it was probably the end of 2016. I don’t think we started strong enough to have been in second even by accident near the start of the season.
- In fairness, NYC and Chicago are as tied as 2 teams can be when they have not played the game amount of games. I suppose NYC and Chicago could have the same number of points, but then the Fire would have a clear PPG advantage with the game in hand. As it stands, NYC is up 2 points, and 0.01 ahead on PPG. Chicago has a game in hand, and the one game remaining between the 2 teams is in Chicago.
- Both teams control their destiny. If NYC wins out, including the game in Chicago, the Fire cannot catch them. If Chicago wins out, NYC cannot catch them.
- Meanwhile, Toronto just keep chugging along. Four games ago, Toronto and the Fire both had 3 losses, by far the lowest in the league. Since then the Fire have lost 3 of 4 while Toronto is still sitting on 3 for the year. They lost once in their first 14 games. Then lost 2 of 4. And since have gone 6 games without a loss. They don’t win more than anyone. They are tied with NYC in wins. Chicago and RB are each one win behind with a game in hand. But TFC has only 3 losses and the next lowest (Chicago) has double that. When Toronto does not win it has 3 losses against 8 draws while NYC has 7 losses against 4 draws. Toronto had a weak start to the season, which easy t forget at the point. They only won 1 of their first 6 games. But they also only lost once. Four draws in the first six — two of those at home — was a poor start. But those four draws also represent the difference between 1st and 2nd place right now.
- Last year NYC won 6 road games and had the most Away wins and points in the league. The fifth road win came after 8 games, including a stretch of 4 wins out of 5. 2016 NYC only won 2 of the last 7 Away games. This year it took 12 games to reach 5 wins, but they have come more regularly. With 6 left, it is reasonable to hope for 3 more wins. 2 more is probably the most likely, but 3 is a good hope, with the weakest opponents being Colorado, Montreal and New England (which is not to concede RB and Chicago, either of which would be even more valuable. But 3 more road wins makes 7 more wins very possible. Even 8 becomes thinkable with 3 Away wins. OTOH, getting just 1 more Away win caps the team at 5 or 6 more wins, which is still on track for the neighborhood of 60 points, but probably comfortably far from First Place and maybe even from Second.
- NYC 2017 is now 6 points ahead of NYC 2016.
- A few more schedule notes. The West is all askew right now with Dallas in 4th place despite having the highest PPG. At the same time their PPG puts them tied for Fifth Place in the East. Atlanta had one game in hand going into this week. They were inactive this week, and will be again next week due to their stadium delay, leaving them will 3 games in hand. But a win at home by NYC next week creates an 11-point gap. Atlanta has a tough gap to make up even with all their home games, and their 8 games in 24 days should tire them out. NYC can be in a similar position with RB next week, but that requires 2 results in the coming week, and I try not to count on getting help. But it would be nice if after next week we know the game in Harrison is important only for pride, a season sweep, and the all-time record, while the only team that can threaten NYC from behind — barring a loss of form — is Chicago.