Friday, September 13, 2013

A Look Towards the Rest of the Season

With Sporting Kansas City off this weekend from league play, I thought I'd take a look at the rest of the season for Sporting KC and how it looks to shake for KC vs the rest of the team's they're fighting with in the East.

Here is how the East currently stands:

Kansas City currently sits tied for first place in the East on 45 points with Montreal and New York. All three are six points clear of 4th place Philadelphia.

Here's how the East breaks down, starting with Kansas City.

Sporting KC - 45 points - 8 games left (4 home, 4 away)
Home - 9/17 vs Real Esteli (CCL), 9/27 vs Philadelphia, 10/18 vs DC, 10/23 vs Olimpia (CCL)
Away - 9/21 at Toronto, 10/5 at Columbus, 10/9 at Houston, 10/26 at Philadelphia
Average PPG of opponents - 1.11

KC has the fewest home games in league play of any team in the East, with just 2 left. They also have two Champions' League games to worry about. Of the teams in the East though, KC has the easiest schedule, with the teams KC is facing averaging 1.11 points per game. KC also has a little luxury in their CCL group, not only with both games at home but having taken three points in both of their road games puts them in a very good position for advancing.

Montreal - 45 points - 10 games left (5 home, 5 road)
Home - 9/14 vs Columbus, 9/21 vs Vancouver, 9/24 vs Heredia (CCL), 10/12 vs New England, 10/19 vs Philadelphia.
Away - 9/17 at San Jose (CCL), at Chicago 9/28, 10/4 at Houston, 10/16 at LA, 10/26 at Toronto
Average PPG of opponents - 1.3

The Impact have played the few league games of any team in the league, they still have 8 league games left, but they also have two Champions League games left during the final month and a half of the regular season. That will put them in a fairly congested schedule late this season. Starting Saturday, Montreal starts a stretch of 4 games in 11 days. Three of those four games are at home, but they have a cross country flight to play San Jose.

New York - 45 points - 6 games left (4 home, 2 road)
Home - 9/14 vs Toronto, 9/22 vs Dallas, 10/5 vs New England, 10/27 vs Chicago
Away - 9/29 at Seattle, 10/20 at Houston
Average PPG of opponents - 1.35

New York doesn't have the extra league games that Montreal and KC have so their stretch run is less congested. They also have just two away games left. The down side is that they have the second toughest remaining schedule PPG wise of the eight teams I looked at.

Philadelphia - 39 points - 6 games left (3 home, 3 away)
Home - 9/14 vs Houston, 10/5 vs Toronto, 10/26 vs KC
Away - 9/27 at KC, 10/12 at DC, 10/19 at Montreal
Average PPG of opponents - 1.27

Half of Philadelphia's remaining six games are against teams that are currently tied for first place in the East. Two of those three are on the road, traveling to KC and Montreal, while hosting KC to end the season.
Those will be tough match ups for the Union and they'll need to take advantage of their other three games, especially the Houston game especially with the Dynamo only two points back, but currently sitting outside the playoffs.

New England - 37 points - 7 games left (3 home, 4 away)
Home - 9/21 vs DC, 9/28 vs Houston, 10/19 vs Columbus
Away - 9/14 at Chicago, 10/5 at New York, 10/12 at Montreal, 10/27 at Columbus
Average PPG of opponents - 1.26

The Revolution have quietly worked themselves into a playoff position right now. They have more games left to catch and pass Philadelphia, but do have to travel more. Like Philadelphia, they have two trips to teams currently tied for first in the East traveling to New York and Montreal on consecutive weekends.

Houston - 37 points - 9 games left (5 home, 4 away)
Home - 9/21 vs Chivas, 9/25 vs W Connection (CCL), 10/4 vs Montreal, 10/9 vs KC, 10/20 vs New York
Away - 9/14 at Philadelphia, 9/28 at New England, 10/24 at Arabe Unido (CCL), 10/27 at DC
Average PPG of opponents - 1.3

Houston has seven league games and two CCL games left this season. The certainly have the chance to make up plenty of ground in the table, of their seven remaining league games, five of them are against teams ahead of them in the table, including hosting all three teams at the top of the East in consecutive home games from 10/4 through 10/20.

Chicago - 36 points - 7 games left (3 home, 4 away)
Home - 9/14 vs New England, 9/28 vs Montreal, 10/19 vs Toronto
Away - 9/21 at Columbus, 10/4 at DC, 10/12 at Dallas, 10/27 at New York
Average PPG of opponents - 1.24

Chicago has a good chance to make up ground in the race. Not only do they have a few games against the bottom teams in the conference, at DC and vs Toronto, but they also have the chance to catch teams ahead of them with games against New England, Montreal, and New York.

Columbus - 32 points - 6 games left (3 home, 3 away)
Home - 9/21 vs Chicago, 10/5 vs KC, 10/27 vs New England
Away - 9/14 at Montreal, 9/29 at Dallas, 10/19 at New England
Average PPG of opponents - 1.48

The Crew have the toughest stretch of any of the teams I've listed here. Each team that Columbus play for the rest of the season currently have more points than they do. They're really going to need to have a very good run of form if they are going to climb into the playoffs this year.

CONCLUSION - While KC has the fewest home games of any team left, they still have a very good chance of getting a top seed, or finishing in the top two. Montreal is going to have their hands full with eight league games left, plus having two CCL games and needing to probably win both to guarantee their advancement to the knockout stages. New York with their games at home will be tough to keep pace with for KC, even though Sporting has the "easier" schedule. For the other playoff teams, Philadelphia is going to have the hardest time I think, Houston plays all three top teams, but at home, where they've had a fairly decent record, unlike KC handed them their first loss. I rarely ever bet against Dominic Kinnear when it comes to making the playoffs.

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