Possible Points Remaining: Eastern Conference

Possible Points Remaining: Eastern Conference

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On August 24, 2011
  • 0 Comments
  • 2011 MLS Playoffs, 2011 MLS Season, 2011 Playoff Race, Features

There are plenty of points left on the table for the Eastern Conference clubs. (Getty Images)

I’ll admit, I wanted to get to this post last week but sometimes time just doesn’t play nice. Anyways, I figure with each club getting into their final eight or nine games that it was a perfect time to dive into the schedules and see what each club has left to take care of this season.

As you know I’ve always been a big believer at looking at the schedules and seeing what they mean more than just a game listed on a calendar. Some teams have lots of home games remaining while others will be searching for points on the road.

I’m splitting things up here for a change and will only do the Eastern Conference today. The Western Conference post on this matter will come later in the day, tomorrow or Friday (just whenever time allows me to finish it).

Below is what each club has left and the possible points I think they could achieve in that time.

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Chicago Fire – 9 games remaining (5 home, 4 away) + USOC games + one Friendly

Notes: Yes the Fire are a bad team at the moment, 15 draws on a season with nine games remaining should tell you a thing or two about them. They’re good enough not to get hammered each week but not good enough to win.

Of their five home games remaining they host New England, Chivas, Colorado, Dallas and Columbus. Four of those clubs are in the playoff hunt at the moment. Only the Revs are a team that are on the outside looking in and really have no chance at the playoffs in my mind. When they hit the road they won’t have an easy time in Salt Lake, San Jose, D.C. and in Houston.

I’d expect the draws to continue with this club though. Can they reach 20 draws on the year? I certainly hope not but it isn’t out of the question either. The only way they reach the playoffs, or have a pray to reach the playoffs, is if they win at least six games. Not. Gonna. Happen.

Possible points remaining: 27 points

Likely remaining points: 8 points

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Columbus Crew – 9 games remaining (4 home, 5 road)

Notes: The Crew are probably just a win or two away from being “in” the playoffs this season. They should get a couple of those wins with Houston and Toronto coming into town. I know the Dynamo are playing better these days but I like the Crew at home for a game like this. Their road games don’t seem that bad either as they do have to go to Seattle (a club heavily involved in the CCL), New England, and Chicago.

The big games come down to their two in Philadelphia and in Kansas City. Wins or draws in those matches will easily clinch the Eastern Conference crown for them in my mind.

With no friendlies on the horizon and the USOC done for this club, the Crew have a chance to really do some damage late in the year if they continue on their current form.

Possible points remaining: 27 points

Likely remaining points: 13 points

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D.C. United – 10 games remaining (5 home, 5 away)

Notes: Alright, United is a fringe playoff team at the moment but a team that could very well sneak into the post season should all the chips fall into the right place. Last week would have been a huge statement week for them had they scored two wins on the road in Chicago and in KC. Instead they only got a point out of that trip.

DC has to take advantage of those five home games, something they’ve struggled with a bit this season. With Portland, Chivas, KC, RSL and Chicago coming into town, United have to get at least 12 of those 15 points. At least. From there they have to get some on the road when they head to Seattle, Chivas, Philly, Columbus and Vancouver. Out of those five road games you have to figure they can get somewhere in the neighborhood of five to six points. Getting 47-48 points has to put DC into the playoffs.

Possible points remaining: 30 points

Likely remaining points: 15 points

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Houston Dynamo – 8 games remaining (3 home, five away) + one Friendly

Note: At some point the Dynamo have to win a road game. That much we know. With only three home games remaining on the schedule (against San Jose, Chicago and LA), the Dynamo absolutely have to come up with a way to get more than a draw on the road.

Just looking at where the Dynamo have to go it should come sooner rather than later. A trip to Vancouver is up next, a very winnable game. After that the Dynamo go off to KC, Dallas, Columbus, and Portland. Hard to find any easy road games left in that mix. Their best hope is in Dallas with their North Texas rivals who are in the middle of a tough CCL run.

Houston sits in the mix right now but it all comes down to those road games. They need at least 10 points to feel good about their chances I would think.

Possible points remaining: 24 points

Likely remaining points: 9 points

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New England Revolution  – 8 games remaining (4 home, 4 away)

Notes: The Revs are one of the harder teams to figure out here but the one thing we know at this point is they have to really go on a ridiculous run to reach the playoffs. For now, they look like a true spoiler of a club for those actually in contention.

Their schedule is fairly tough down the stretch too but they do have three home games in a row at one point in October. If they can finish strong with those games and pick up points in September, people may feel better about their 2012 chances.

They host Dallas, Seattle, San Jose and Columbus. There has to be some points there with Seattle and Dallas traveling so much with the CCL.

Possible points remaining: 24 points

Likely remaining points: 7 points

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New York Red Bulls – 8 games remaining (5 home, 3 away)

Notes: In a way, the Red Bulls really have no excuse with their remaining schedule. Five home games should help get them out of this funk right? Who knows. The Red Bulls need at least 13 points to get to 45 on the season to feel comfortable here.

So how easy will it be to get those 13 points? Well they host LA, not an easy out at all. After that they host Vancouver, Salt Lake, Portland and Philadelphia. Somewhere in that mix has to be at least six points, if not nine.

The road won’t be too horrible for them either. Trips to Dallas, Toronto and KC are all that is left for them this season. Again, no excuse.

Possible points remaining: 24 points

Likely remaining points: 11 points

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Philadelphia Union – 10 games remaining (5 home, 5 away)

Notes: The Union still have a lot to prove with their remaining schedule. Five home, five away, very balanced and doable as far as getting the points they need to reach the post season. Ten point should get them in but they really need to get at least 14 to feel really safe.

September is a big month for them, out of the five games in that month, three are at PPL Park. They host Portland, Columbus, and DC in that span. Their other two home games are definitely winnable as they bring in New England and Toronto. Somewhere in that five games has to be at least nine points, if not 12 or 15. Those five home games are all winnable in my book.

Getting points on the road is a plus really and should they want to get the Eastern Conference crown, they’ll need them. It won’t be easy with games at Chivas, RSL, KC, NY and Seattle. In other words they have to take care of business at home.

Possible points remaining: 30 points

Likely remaining points: 18 points

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Sporting Kansas City – 9 games remaining (6 home, 3 away) + one friendly

Notes: The Eastern Conference crown is really their’s for the taking. Six home games in their final ten really set them up nicely for a strong run into the post season. In this time they host Dallas, LA, Houston, Philly, Columbus, and New York. Not exactly an easy task but very doable as far as getting the points they need to reach the post season.

I’d say ten points is really all they need here but 12 wouldn’t hurt. They get two clubs in Dallas and LA up next at home. Both are in the middle of a big CCL run, both could be gassed for this match with Sporting. Houston struggled on the road and who knows where this Red Bull club will be by October.

They do have three road games left which seems weird considering how many they had at the beginning of the year. Trips to RSL, San Jose and DC are left. Two of those are definitely winnable.

Possible points remaining: 27 points

Likely remaining points: 17 points

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Toronto FC – 7 games remaining (4 home, 3 away) + 5 CCL matches

Notes: Lots of soccer left for the Reds. For me, this club is a spoiler club at this point in the year. They’ll need to basically get all 21 possible remaining points (go 7-0-0) to have a shot at the playoffs. And that isn’t even a sure bet these days.

With five (or four after tonight) CCL games left, I’d look for this Toronto team to focus more on the CCL than on the regular season. Good reasons to really.

But here is what they do have left in the league. Home matches with San Jose, Colorado, New York and New England. Road matches at Columbus, Chivas and Philadelphia.

Possible points remaining: 21 points

Likely remaining points: 8 points

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