2016 Playoff Projections, or Hope By The Numbers

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Gotham Gator

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If we muck up the last two weeks and end up having to play the play-in game, I think I'd most want to play Montreal. The narrative around them is that they have a real problem playing Drogba because he doesn't play any defense. He was pretty much a complete passenger when they played the Red Bulls a few weeks ago and has been on the bench since. They were pretty lucky to come out of Orlando with a win given the flow of the match.

It will be fascinating to see what Biello does with him going forward, but I'm not sure there is any team in the league that would most benefit from not being pressed aggressively more than us and, without him, I think they lack offensive punch generally. Indeed, we have played very well against them this year, even when they were playing better early in the season.

As a side note, I also think the Drogba story is a real cautionary tale for how we approach think about what to do with our existing DPs when we reach decision points. Sure, all three have really contributed this year and the number of minutes that both Villa and Pirlo have played is astounding. But, as one gets into his late-30s, it can go really quickly and a long-term commitment could be disastrous.
Generally agree with all of this. Let's think also about Philly. The MLS website has an interesting breakdown of the recent form of all the teams. Philly is the worst since the beginning of September at 2 points in 5 games. That might also be a good matchup.

Of course, Philly (along with DC and Montreal) may also slip below the red line. New England is at Chicago in the penultimate game. If the Revolution come out of there with 3 points, then they will be in a position to pass Philly and DC if those teams don't win, and Montreal if the Impact don't at least tie Toronto. Plus, Montreal plays at New England to finish the year. That could be a game to watch if it is for a playoff spot.
 

SoupInNYC

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What is your prediction for the Final Standings?

Here is mine
55 - NJR
54 - NYC
53 - TOR
47 - DCU
46 - PHI
45 - MON
---
45 - NE
38 - COL
36 - ORL
27 - CHI
Here is what I have:
55 - NJR
54 - NYC
52 - TOR
48 - MON
47 - DCU
46 - PHL
---
44 - NE
41 - CLB
36 - ORL
27 - CHI
 

Viewfrom226

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Generally agree with all of this. Let's think also about Philly. The MLS website has an interesting breakdown of the recent form of all the teams. Philly is the worst since the beginning of September at 2 points in 5 games. That might also be a good matchup.
They are definitely scrapping as well, though they've looked better than Montreal in the recent matches I've seen even if they haven't always gotten the results. That stretch of five included four on the road, though it also included a home draw against the very Montreal team I was ragging on and a 3-0 loss in Chicago.
 

Gotham Gator

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Further update on seeding probabilities after Wednesday's games. Getting at least 6 points gives us a really good shot at the Top 2. 5 points and we are better than 50-50. Need at least 3 points to have any realistic chance.

SS Win: 1.0%
EC Win: 11%
2-Seed: 26% ---> Top 2 = 37%, up from 35%
3-Seed: 58%
4-Seed: 5%
5-Seed: <1%

Points in last 3 matches & odds of making Top 2 in the East.
9 - 99+%
7 - 89%
6 - 80%
5 - 58%
4 - 36%
3 - 22% (1 win); 16% (3 ties)
2 - 1%
1 - 1%
0 - <1%

Link to the site.

http://www.sportsclubstats.com/USA/NYCFC.html
Another update on seeding probabilities after this past weekend. You can see last week's odds above. Getting at least 6 points guarantees us the Top 2. Even as few as 2 points and we are better than 50-50.

SS Win: 1.3%
EC Win: 30% (up from 11%)
2-Seed: 43% ---> Top 2 = 73%, up from 37%
3-Seed: 27% (can't finish lower than this)

Points in last 2 matches & odds of making Top 2 in the East.
6 - 100%
4 - 94%
3 - 88%
2 - 66%
1 - 34%
0 - 28%

Link to the site.

http://www.sportsclubstats.com/USA/NYCFC.html
 

Viewfrom226

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Another update on seeding probabilities after this past weekend. You can see last week's odds above. Getting at least 6 points guarantees us the Top 2. Even as few as 2 points and we are better than 50-50.

SS Win: 1.3%
EC Win: 30% (up from 11%)
2-Seed: 43% ---> Top 2 = 73%, up from 37%
3-Seed: 27% (can't finish lower than this)

Points in last 2 matches & odds of making Top 2 in the East.
6 - 100%
4 - 94%
3 - 88%
2 - 66%
1 - 34%
0 - 28%

Link to the site.

http://www.sportsclubstats.com/USA/NYCFC.html
Nice. Our biggest disadvantage had been the 2 road games while Tor and NYRB had one, but winning on the road while Toronto dropped points at home was so huge.

The 88% for 3 points is pretty encouraging. The game in DC is tough, but there is pretty much no excuse for not getting a W against CLB on the last day at home even if we have historically struggled badly against them (only East team we've never beaten I think, though we've only played them once at home so far).
 

SoupInNYC

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If you are interested in the Western Conference playoff race, that thread is here.

http://nycfcforums.com/index.php?threads/western-conference-playoff-race.4877/

Looking at things, I think Colorado catches Dallas. The Rapids are 5 points back, but they have 2 games in hand and a really soft schedule without a single remaining game against a team above the red line.
Whereas Dallas has a game against the red-hot Sounders and then at LAG which is always a tough place to play. Even if Colorado doesn't get a result in its toughest remaining game (at Portland), they can still reach 60 points.
 

LionNYC

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NYCFC beats DC, Columbus beats New Jersey, and Montreal beats Toronto would put us at a >99% probability of winning the east.
 
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Kenny

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Highly unlikely that Columbus beats NJ but the other two are very possible
 

Viewfrom226

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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, NJRB, 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.
Looking back at this, which I first posted on July 5th just after we had beaten the RB at home. This was a path to 50 points to all but guarantee us the playoffs. We, of course, happily exceeded that total and the red line is going to come in a bit south of it.

Cat (1) - We are at 6 of 6, with Columbus remaining. So, it would clearly be a disappointment to not hit at least the 7 of 9 I had mapped and we should be expecting 9 of 9.

Cat (2) - 7 of 9 thanks to beating both Col and LA. So, +3 there.

Cat (3) - 7 of 18 win the match against DC to come. Wins at NE and Mon, and a draw at CLB. So, a draw at DC gets us to the 8 of 21 I was looking for.

Cat (4) - 4 of 9 due to the win at Houston and draw in SJ.

So, draw at DC and win home v CLB and we end up at 55 points with the +5 all coming thanks to our home form.
 

Tom in Fairfield CT

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It's soccer and more specifically MLS, so all results are more than possible.

Also, Montreal's coach should be banished from football if he is benching drogba for not playing defense.
 
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canchon

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Looking at things, I think Colorado catches Dallas. The Rapids are 5 points back, but they have 2 games in hand and a really soft schedule without a single remaining game against a team above the red line.
Hasn't Colorado won something like 4 games in the last four months? And now they are going to rattle off four in a row?

I agree it's a soft schedule, but MLS is MLS and it is proven every year that "games in hand" is overestimated. I think Dallas has one hand on the shield.
 

Gotham Gator

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Hasn't Colorado won something like 4 games in the last four months? And now they are going to rattle off four in a row?

I agree it's a soft schedule, but MLS is MLS and it is proven every year that "games in hand" is overestimated. I think Dallas has one hand on the shield.
Well, 4 in the last 2.5, but I get your point.

I'm just not sure how many more points Dallas is going to get. They are home against the hottest team in the league and then travel to play the Galaxy. Anything fewer than 4 points out of those, and Colorado can get ahead, I think.
 
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Viewfrom226

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Last I checked drogba doesn't play central mid.
I haven't seen all of their recent matches, but when I have watched them he is creating the same issue. Lack of pressure on the ball upfront and lack of covering space means they end up defending too deep and have to play on the back foot.

I actually think their issue is fairly similar to the issue we have with our starting midfield, albeit in a slightly different place on the pitch.

The difference for them is that their record is markedly worse when Drogba starts while ours is good when Lampard plays in part because of all the goals he's scored but also despite the defensive holes he creates as you've rightly (in my mind at least) noted.