Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ten Games To Go

Yes, I know everyone is talking about the Torres rumors, but with the number of twists and turns that's taken, I'm going to wait until either Torres is standing in the Dick with a Rapids scarf and his ITC or the transfer window closes before I comment.

What I want to talk about tonight is the final 10 games and where we are in the playoff race.  Right now on points we are in 2nd place, just 3 points behind FSL for first in the West and the Supporters Shield (NY is tied with FSL).  We're flying, right?  Wrong.  We're that high because we've played more games than any other team in the league.  In pts/game we're actually 6th in the west at 1.46, .04 pts/game behind LA and Vancouver for the final playoff spot.

That should be grounds for concern, and is, but not as much concern as you might think at first glance.  There are 3 main reasons for that:

  1. Since we started the season on a 5 game winless streak with only 2 draws we've been playing at 1.74 pts/game over the last 19 games, which would be the best average in the league over the whole season.
  2. Games in hand are only possible points, not guaranteed points.  The good news for the other teams is that they have those games in hand, the bad news is that they have to fit more games into a shorter amount of time.  For Portland and FSL, they also have to play their USOC semi-final tonight with the winner having to play the final.  LA and San Jose have to fit in their CONCACAF Champions League games in on top of their league schedule.  Meanwhile the Rapids only have one midweek game left, right before one of three bye weekends.  That gives Colorado a nice steady stream of games with plenty of time to rest, recuperate, and stay healthy and focused.
  3. A number of the teams with games in hand on us will make them up by playing each other, which means either they each get 1 point or one team gets 3 and the other gets 0.  1 or 0 points won't help a team stay above a 1.5 pts/game average.
Does that mean we're free and clear?  No, we have a tough schedule left.  After this weekend's game @Chivas USA every game we play will be a game against a team fighting for a playoff spot (With the possible exception of the Oc. 9th game @SJ, they may be out of it by then), and only one of them is against the Eastern Conference, our trip to KC on Aug. 31st.  So almost every point we drop is a point being given to one of the teams we're competing against.

Right now I would say that Portland and FSL are going to make the playoffs and Chivas USA and San Jose probably won't.  That leaves LA, Vancouver, Seattle, Dallas, and Colorado competing for 3 spots.  The way Dallas is free-falling they're probably an underdog to make it while LA seems to be getting stronger.  Seattle just got much better with the addition of Clint Dempsey, but with 4 extra games to play they may run into fitness issues.  This could come down to Vancouver and Colorado for the final playoff spot, and those two teams play 3 times in the Rapids last 9 games, twice in Colorado.

I'm not yet confident that we'll make the playoffs.  I am confident that if we keep playing the same way we have since April started, we'll make the playoffs.  That means 17 points in 10 games.

1 comment:

Schmicker said...

you know, im starting to think that i might not believe in the games in hand thing. yes, in theory they are good to have, but you still need to win the games.