I don’t think we’re making the playoffs. I’m ready to say that at the end of May, and even though we’re in 4th place. I hope I’m wrong, but that’s my position.
Currently, bad teams in MLS do reasonably well at home. Since we have been in the league, only 2 teams have a PPG at home below 1.5. Chicago is 1.42 and NYCFC is 1.20. Orlando is 1.54, and everyone else is at 1.6 and above. Playoff teams average 2.0.
You go back a few years and you see some really spectacularly bad Home teams. Toronto and Chivas were just horrible a few years ago. We’re not at that level, but right now we are the worst.
Going back at least 10 years, no team has made the MLS playoffs without a winning record at home. But we’re only 1 game under, so flipping that won’t be hard, right? To get a winning record at home, we must go
Or get even fewer losses, maybe with more ties. We still have to play at home against
RSL, PHI, RB, COL, LAG, DAL
Plus 4 teams easier to beat but if we lose to just 1 of the 4 we really need to rack up wins against the better 6. To date, the longest we have ever gone maintaining a record 2 games above .500 at home is a 4 games stretch last August-September . Maybe we don’t lose more than 3 or 4 home games, or maybe we become the first team to make the playoffs without a winning home record. Any of these can happen. But recognize that it’s either doing far, far better than we have ever done at home against really tough opponents, or making history without a winning home record.
So maybe we make it to one game over 50% at home. In the last 5 years of a 34 game season only one team, SKC in 2014, has made the playoffs with a winning differential of merely +1 at home. Every other playoff team has had at least 3 more wins than losses at home. 2014 SKC made the playoffs by having 8 road wins. In the last 5 years only 5 teams have managed 8 or more road wins. It’s doable, but it is not a mundane accomplishment.
If we make the playoffs we either
1. have an extremely dramatic change in our H/A record to date, or
2. Make MLS history. I’m all for making history, if that’s what it takes, but I won’t minimize it now and certainly not if the team pulls it off.
I still hope we win our next 3 at home, and we’re 2 games over just like that. Even then it’s a tough road to maintain it. And it has to start immediately.