Monday, August 31, 2009

RSL Playoff Chances? Draws and Upsets

Real Salt Lake had a great week last week, picking up a rare six points in a four day span. Winning their second road game of the year, despite playing more than half of the game with a man down.

The week resurrected visions of the playoffs in the heads of many RSL fans, but where does the team really stand?

Right now a superficial glance will tell you that RSL is in the 8th spot currently, and holding on (desperately) to the last playoff position. Probably a decent position since the team spent most of the year outside of playoff position. However, when you take into account the games in hand and favorable schedules of their competitors, things don’t look nearly as optimistic.

In fact, RSL must take care of business in their final 6 games, but they also may need some help. Right now the playoff target is a whopping 43 points, based on the 8th highest PPG in the league (Seattle). Real Salt Lake has 33 points, and a projected 41 points. In order to reach the current projected playoff threshold of 43 points they would need 10 more points, or 3 wins and a draw. This is achievable, but the two teams immediately behind them (Chivas and DC United) look much more likely to reach that level. Both have more games remaining (8 and 7 respectively) and each has 5 home games left.


gpwltptsHomeRoadPPGpts availProj PtsProj Rk
1Houston25117740321.60 1548 2


23104939431.70 2151 1
3Chicago24106838331.58 1848 3
4Los Angeles24941138421.58 1848 3
5Seattle24861034241.42 1843 8
6New England2196633451.57 2747 5
7Colorado2297633351.50 2445 6
8Real Salt Lake2499633331.38 1841 10
9Chivas USA22109333531.50 2445 6
10D.C. United23751132521.39 2142 9
11Toronto FC2388731341.35 2140 11
12FC Dallas22611523441.05 2431 12
13Kansas City21510621451.00 2730 13
14San Jose22512520350.91 2427 14
15New York24416416330.67 1820 15

So the path to the playoffs is somewhat clear to RSL. They need to stay ahead of Chivas, DC United and Toronto, and/or hope that Colorado, New England or Seattle fall. Seattle is the most likely candidate, as they have the same number of games remaining as RSL. They also have only 1 more point than RSL. They have been struggling and have only 2 remaining home games. However, if Seattle falls and both Chivas and DC United take advantage of their games in hand, then RSL still could be left out in the cold.

So what’s an RSL fan to do? Hope for plenty of draws among their competitors, and a few upsets. More surprise wins by Dallas, New York, Kansas City and San Jose like the Red Bulls triumph over Columbus last night would be a welcome sight.