I’m glad the Toronto and Chicago games came in a single game week. Separately they lead to extremes of despair and euphoria; together we have a chance of making some sense. NYC has gained ground on both this week thanks to the win over Chicago and Toronto’s draw at home against a Colorado team who won it’s first road point all year in 8 attempts. TFC dropped points 2 games in a row for the first time since April 8. Chicago has also dropped points 2 games in a row and it is their first time since May 6, which capped a 3-game winless streak. Following that, the Fire did not lose for 11 straight until Saturday against NYC. Behind NYC, Atlanta and the Red Bulls have both won 4 of the last 5 (Atlanta 5 of 6 even) and tightened up the playoff positioning race. For all the perception that RB has slipped they have a better record right now than they did last year at this point. In 2016, however, they did not lose after July 3 so they have a tough road to maintain that position.
The Galaxy lead the league with 5 road wins. Next come 4 teams with 4 Away wins, and all of them are above the playoff line in the East: Toronto, NYC, Atlanta and RB. This is largely why the East is so competitive and why the fifth best team in the East projects to more wins than the second best team in the West.
Dallas has won 3 in a row and slipped ahead of NYC in the SS race. They have just 3 Away wins but have as many Away points (13) as NYC and did that playing one fewer road game. Road draws. They have 4, NYC has 1. They have a winning road record, NYC a losing road record. Road draws.
It probably takes 6-7 wints to keep NYC ahead of Atlanta and the other chasers, and 8-9 wins to have a shot at Chicago and/or Toronto, depending on how much they falter, if at all. After this next Away game in Toronto the 2 toughest road games remaining are Chicago and the Red Bulls. The rest, Galaxy, Colorado, Montreal and New England are games not to lose: 8 points from those 4 at least. At home, NYC has the Red Bulls as the toughest opponent, then SKC and Houston as modestly challenging, and New England, Portland and Columbus.
Not much of a story in the graphs this week that is new, but here they are.
[…] the East playoff line of 43-44 to the 48-49 projected in the West. This is a major reversal from this time last year, when the 5th place East team had a better PPG than the 2nd place West team. In fact, this time […]