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2016 Playoff Projections, or Hope By The Numbers

Discussion in 'NYCFC Supporters Discussion' started by mgarbowski, May 1, 2016.

  1. FootyLovin

    FootyLovin No better obsession Elite Donor Donor Seasoned Supporter

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    Not angst. And I'm not a Kreis apologist. As I've said many times, my view on Kreis is based on my work with high level corporate leaders. I found his management style atrocious.

    Just tired of the same arguments. And there were many people/factors responsible for the low bar set last year.
     
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  2. mgarbowski

    mgarbowski Senior Member Elite Donor Donor Seasoned Supporter

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    We're in first place, and tied for first via PPG.
    We're in 4th place Supporters Shield, and tied for 5th by PPG.
    We have raised both our Home record and our record against the East to .500.
    In 4 tries over 2 years we have never failed to win our third in a row (thx to LionNYCLionNYC for the pointer).
    Depending on the ties/losses ratio, we can probably make the playoffs with just 6 wins in our last 16.
    It is probably reasonable to start thinking about playoff position and not just playoff attainment.

    With all that going on, I find the comparison to last year to be one of the least interesting things about this year.
    Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 7.50.16 AM.png

    We've never had that placement before. One note is that after tomorrow we will have played 3 more games than our closest rival. As we are currently tied in PPG (we won't be after tomorrow because we cannot earn 1.5 points obviously) it's hard to say whether that advantages us because we have points in hand or them because they can pass us without needing us to lose. But just keep it in mind until it evens out. Also this isn't the result of crazy scheduling for Montreal like last year. We will just be tied for most games played (and alone in the East) at 19 and Montreal at 16 is one above the lowest, which is Chicago. It's just MLS. And while the amount is lower, every other team in the East will have games in hand on us as well.
    The playoff projection line is slightly lower than last week but rounded off is still 43. And we have a very nice cushion right now.

    A few weeks ago I was beating the drums about Home/Away. Right now I want to push East/West.
    NYCFC v East 4-4-6
    NYCFC v West 3-1-0
    Our entire margin over .500 is from 4 games against the West. It's a fun anomaly, and has meant some great wins against quality teams, often on the road, but wins against the East are more valuable because they take points away from rivals. I'm not warning of anything here, but it's good we've improved this and if the current run of play continues it should just get better and do us a lot of good.

    Our record after 3-game win streaks is poor. Going 3 games out, our record in those 9 games is 1-5-3 for 6 points out of 27. We play our next 3 away against New England, SKC, and -- look at that -- Montreal.

    Finally, here's what we need to get to assorted point totals. Like I said, 6 wins out of 16 games looks like playoff territory.
    Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 8.11.06 AM.png
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  3. Viewfrom226

    Viewfrom226 Active Member Elite Donor Seasoned Supporter Away Days Liaison

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    This is always a great write-up, but it is particularly enjoyable when the substance of it is so positive!

    There are, of course, a ton of permutations and this is MLS, so predicting week to week results is dicey at best plus there is the transfer window, but here's my path to 50 points. I think there is also upside from this and would hope to do better. It feels pretty conservative and supports the point above that we really, really should be making the playoffs.

    (1) 7 of 9 from home matches against DC United, Chicago and Columbus - too optimistic given our home record to date? Maybe, but that is a mediocre to bad collection of teams and maybe we've finally figured out this home thing.

    (2) 4 of 9 from home matches against Colorado, Dallas and LA - Maybe the three best teams in the league, but not very strong on the road.

    (3) 8 from 21 from road matches against New England (2x), Montreal, NYRB, Columbus, Orlando and DC - This feels pretty doable because, while I remain a bit skeptical that we have some unique power on the road, this is a lot of games against a lot of teams that aren't that strong.

    (4) 4 from 9 from road matches against Sporting KC, SJ and Houston - I could see us doing worse than this because I still feel our "road warrior" performance is a bit fortunate, but this isn't a great collection of opponents.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  4. canchon

    canchon Active Member Seasoned Supporter

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    NYCFC lost four points on two last minute goals to Orlando and Montreal. Those two goals are keeping NYCFC from being 5 points up against the entire Eastern conference.

    Now I know it is just fools gold to look at revisionist history like this, and every team can do this...but ufff. If those points were in the bank it would have been a much easier path to the playoffs.
     
  5. Ulrich

    Ulrich Senior Member Elite Donor Donor Seasoned Supporter

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    and don't forget the meltdown vs RSL when we were up 1-0 (with 20 shots/6 on goal) and lost 3-2 (they had 8 shots/2 on goal). At worst, we should have had a point from that game, but to be up 1-0, control all of the possession, and concede 3 straight goals in 15 minutes was unthinkable!
     
  6. Viewfrom226

    Viewfrom226 Active Member Elite Donor Seasoned Supporter Away Days Liaison

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    This is such a depressing road to go down and there are other examples. Other than probably Portland, I don't think we've really nicked any points that we pretty clearly didn't deserve based on the overall match. It shows how much it matters to have difference makers who can create goals (read Harrison) in a sport where the margins are so thin.
     
  7. mgarbowski

    mgarbowski Senior Member Elite Donor Donor Seasoned Supporter

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    This is about Toronto and I didn't know where to put it. This seems as relevant a thread as any.

    After all those road games to start the season, TFC has not really taken advantage of their home games to date. They're only 2-1-3 including a tie this weekend against the same punchless Sounders team we just dominated in Seattle. Out of curiosity, I was looking at their upcoming schedule to see when they start making up the 4 game home gap they have and was surprised to see it is not until the very end of the season when they have their last 5 of 6 at home. As long as they stay close, that finish with 5 home games against RB, PHI, ORL, DC and CHI gives them an opportunity to make up lost ground, especially if they get healthier than they are now.
    Those 5 teams have a combined 4 away wins to date. They are terrible, terrible road teams.

    TFC's away game mixed in is at Montreal. Their last road game before this stretch is in Chicago on September 10. Right now we have a 7-point lead on Toronto (who has 2 extra games to play) and I would like to see that stay at least that large, if not increase, between now and September.

    * PS and ETA: 2 of those teams' 4 road wins are against NYCFC.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
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  8. Ulrich

    Ulrich Senior Member Elite Donor Donor Seasoned Supporter

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    If nothing else, even if they both lose to Toronto, RB & Orlando are going to physically beat the crap out of the Toronto players so that Philly & DC can take advantage of it the following game :)
     
  9. Gotham Gator

    Gotham Gator Senior Member Donor

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    Interesting. Of course, Toronto right now is dealing with terrible injury problems with something like 4 of their 5 best players out until mid-August. Lucky for them, they've got a really easy schedule the rest of the way, with only 5 games against teams in the top half the table.
     
  10. mgarbowski

    mgarbowski Senior Member Elite Donor Donor Seasoned Supporter

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    Random fact:

    The last time Chicago won an Away Game was July 12, 2014.
     
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  11. mgarbowski

    mgarbowski Senior Member Elite Donor Donor Seasoned Supporter

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    • From 1996 through 1999 MLS had no draws, so teams naturally won and lost more games. During that period, 4 teams won 10 or more road games, including DCU in 1997, 1998, and 1999. They won 13 twice.
    • Since 2000, the record for most road wins is 9. It is not common but it is not rare either, and the record is shared by a handful of teams, most recently San Jose in 2012.
    • NYCFC has 5 road wins in its first 8 road games, so there is a decent shot of at least matching and maybe setting a new post-1999 record.
    • Last year only 4 teams had more than 5 road wins all year, which is the norm. Just more road win and we will probably have one of the 4 best Away records in the league.
    • It seems more likely than not we will have more Away wins than Home, or at least be even. This happens on average to fewer than one team each year. They also usually do not make the playoffs. We seem likely to make the playoffs and that would be a true rarity. Best team to do it was Seattle in 2011 with 9 Home and Away wins each and 63 points. For us to get 9 Home wins we would have to win out.
    • We have not lost on the road since April 19 in Philadelphia.*
    • Based solely on Home records, most of our toughest Away games to get wins will be against bad teams: CMB (just 1 home loss to date), HOU (1), SJ (0), and ORL (0). All are currently below the playoff line because they are terrible on the road. SJ and HOU have 0 road wins while ORL and CMB have only 1 each. But they don't lose much at home (although some draw more than they should, kind of like us). The outlier is Montreal, 4-1-3 at home (same as HOU) and a good overall record.
    • We face DC (4 home losses)and NER (2) again, where we already won. Is it hard to do the Away double?
    • Remaining 2 Away are SKC (5-4-1 at home) and RB (6-2-0).
    • Of our 3 Away wins to date, 3 were against teams that have only lost one other home game: Portland, Chicago and New England, so we're capable of that. Chicago is surprisingly competent at Home. They are just hideous Away (see immediately preceding post).
    * The only Away game I have been to.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2016
  12. LionNYC

    LionNYC Senior Member Staff Member Elite Donor Seasoned Supporter

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    I think we need a new thread title now...

    2016 Playoff Projections, WE IN HERE!
     
  13. Midas Mulligan

    Midas Mulligan Senior Member Elite Donor Donor Seasoned Supporter International Liaison

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    We are at 90% to make it right now, and yet I still feel as though we are a coin flip.

    Emotional hedge by betting everyone but Fire finish above us?

    I'm scared, Sarge.
     
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  14. mgarbowski

    mgarbowski Senior Member Elite Donor Donor Seasoned Supporter

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    I know. PlayoffStatus.com also has us at 45% to finish 1st or 2nd which I think is clearly too high. I'd put those odds at 20-30% tops. I personally think we're solidly above 50% to make the playoffs, but not quite 90% or so certain that there's no meaningful risk. And I can easily see us slipping down to spots 4-6 without any reason to be shocked. It can happen fast and we have to keep winning to keep it from happening. Not every game, but the winless streaks have to stay very short. We have been so streaky this season:

    1 WIN
    7 Game Winless
    3 WINS
    4 Game Winless
    4 WINS
     
  15. adam

    adam Senior Member Elite Donor Donor Seasoned Supporter

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    It feels to me that the previous winless streaks were a result of roster decisions/availability and tactics. I feel both have been solved at this point. To PV's credit, we've found our groove. I don't think we can win forever, but we will be able to right the ship by continuing our current form. (Especially without the double game weeks the rest of the season). The worries that could sidetrack us are injuries and chemistry problems resulting from Summer transfers (if we have any). Let's hope everyone stays healthy.
     
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  16. mgarbowski

    mgarbowski Senior Member Elite Donor Donor Seasoned Supporter

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    I also think there has been some element of luck. We're prone to late cheap goals on set plays, and early on they all seemed to go in against us and now it seems they never do. I like to think we've improved the set play defending, but I think the randomness factor will swing in part the other direction again, just not as bad as the first 2 months. We should have won at least 1-2 games in that 7-game winless streak. I'd like to see us build a nice long unbeaten streak of 8-9 games with almost any mix of wins and draws. If we can do that the next 2 months with all our away games, or even lose no more than 1-2 of the next 9 or so while winning 3+, we'll be very, very solid.
     
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  17. Ulrich

    Ulrich Senior Member Elite Donor Donor Seasoned Supporter

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    On Set Plays (Corner Kicks), it really helps that both Mena and Lampard are tall enough to match up in marking - Mena is 6' versus Hernandez 5'-10, and Lampard is 6' versus Mikey 4'-8". That's a big factor.
     
  18. adam

    adam Senior Member Elite Donor Donor Seasoned Supporter

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    LOL
     
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  19. mgarbowski

    mgarbowski Senior Member Elite Donor Donor Seasoned Supporter

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    Yes. This makes absolute sense. But.
    I will always try to be the guy -- especially in sports -- who says streaks are random, and not due to coaching, new players, or clutch performance.
    I could write pages on this but I'll just state my premises and conclusions: As a species we excel at noticing patterns and coming up with explanations for them. It's how we survived, prospered and developed. Smart people are good at it and dumb people are good at it. The explanations of smart people tend to make more sense and be right more often, but every one of us including the idiots can notice patterns and come up with plausible-sounding theories in our sleep. Otherwise we would lack both high technology and popular conspiracy theories. It's in our nature.
    But any statistician on the planet will tell you that in any true random distribution you will find streaks, clusters and patterns that have no meaning or rationale whatsoever. And as a species we suck at admitting this in practical applications. We especially suck at it in sports, because we want our heroes to be clutch and our goats to have flaws. But much, much more often than we are willing to admit, the hot streaks, slumps, and performance in big moments just reflect random distributions.
     
  20. Ulrich

    Ulrich Senior Member Elite Donor Donor Seasoned Supporter

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    Fine, except there's nothing random about a tall player inherently having a better ability to get to a crossed corner kick than the shorter player.... unless the ball is a line-drive cross at chest height or lower. an increase in height is a very literal variable and not a random integer.
     

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