One-quarter of the season is left. NYC is 4 points back of league-leading Toronto, and 5 ahead of third-place Chicago.
- Many teams behind Chicago have games in hand, and even Chicago has a schedule advantage of one extra home game. So I checked to see what would happen if every team within generous reach of NYC took full advantage of any schedule advantages it has. I checked West teams as well for potential home field in a Cup final match. This exercise ignores strength of schedule and just looks at extra games or extra home games.
- Montreal: Game in hand, 10 points back, H2H in Montreal. The Impact can beat us at home, and win their extra game, and still will be 4 points behind us.
- Dallas FC: 2 in hand, 11 points back. They can win both extra games and still will be 5 points trailing.
- Red Bulls: 1 in hand, 8 points back, H2H in NJ: They can beat us at home, and win their extra game, and still will be 2 points behind us.
- Atlanta: 3 in hand, 11 points back, 8H 4A remaining. They can win all 3 extra games and still will be 2 points back. Downside for NYC: this still leaves them with a favorable 5H 4A in remaining 9 games. If on top of winning all their extra games they also win an extra home game, and all else being equal, they jump ahead of us. That’s a lot going right for them, however.
- Seattle: 6 points back, 5H 4A: taking advantage of the modestly better H/A schedule by winning the additional home game leaves them 3 points back. Also, even if they make up the 6-point deficit by winning 2 extra games NYC would have first tiebreaker with one more Win.
- SKC: 6 points back, 4H 5A: No clear schedule advantage. They do play NYC in NYC which is an opportunity but not an advantage. Even if they make up 6-point deficit by winning 2 extra games NYC would have first tiebreaker with two more Wins.
- Chicago: 5 points back, 5H 4A. They can win their extra home game and be 2 behind.
The summary is that only Atlanta has enough extra games and home games baked into their schedule to let them jump over NYC just by seizing those advantages.
- A 3-game win streak and 4 of 5 has this table looking a bit better to reach the top spots. Winning 5 more games is very doable and that all leads to 60+ points. Even winning 4 more gets to 60 with a couple of draws.
Also, I ran the number adding NYC’s Home PPG times 4 games + the Away PPG times 5 and it comes to 62 points.
- NYCFC is 8 points ahead of 2016 through 25 games. Last year the club reached 46 points at games 30-31, jumping from 45 points to 48 with only 3 games to go.
A final note on the graphs. The PPG line for 2016 stabilized around game 19. After that it just squiggled up and down without moving much. Part of that is just that it gets harder to move the needle the deeper you go into the season, but NYC last year also did not have a winning or winless streak longer than 2 games after that point. You can see this year the line has diverged more later based on the current 3 straight wins and 4 of 5.