Playoffs?...We're Talking About Playoffs?

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If the MLS playoffs were to begin today the Fire would left on the outside looking in.  Fortunately, the Fire have more than a third of their schedule remaining and some time to make up ground. 

Dropped points on late goals in two consecutive road matches don't make the current table any easier to look at but the reality is that the Fire currently sit in 11th place overall.  After defeating the Galaxy in Los Angeles on Saturday night, the Kansas City Wizards moved ahead of the Fire although they have played two more matches.  The current table looks like this:

                         PTS       GP

  1. LA              43        22
  2. CLB            41        22
  3. RSL            40        22
  4. NY             37        22
  5. FCD           37        21
  6. SEA           32        22
  7. COL           31        21
  8. SJ              29       20
  9. TFC           27        21
  10. KC             26        21
  11. CHI            24       19
  12. HOU          23       22
  13. NE             21        21
  14. PHL           20        21
  15. CHV          19        20
  16. DC             15        21

For the purpose of trying to nail down which teams will make the final cut of eight I'll assume that LA, CLB, RSL, NY, and FCD are going to be in barring some major monumental collapses.  I'll also assume that DC, CHV, PHL, NE, and HOU are out by taking into account the almost unrealistic amount of ground they will need to make up just to qualify for the eighth spot with less than 10 matches to play for each team. 

That leaves SEA, COL, SJ, TFC, KC, and CHI.  Six teams fighting for three available playoff spots. 

Seattle

They have 8 matches remaining but they will also be juggling CONCACAF Champion's League and the US Open Cup as the season winds down.  Remaining MLS matches: @NE, RSL, @CLB, @ CHI, TFC, @KC, CHV, @HOU.  Five of their eight remaining matches are against playoff contenders and only three of those remaining games are at home. 

Colorado

They have 9 MLS matches remaining: CHV, @NY, NE, @RSL, PHL, DC, @FCD, @LA, RSL.  Five of their remaining nine matches are against playoff contenders including two against defending champion Real Salt Lake. 

San Jose

The Earthquakes have only played one more game than the Fire and sit five points ahead in the standings.  The September 29 match up in California will be huge for both sides.  Remaining MLS matches: @HOU, FCD, PHL, @TFC, CHI, @CLB, @DC, HOU, CHV, @KC.  Five of their remaining ten matches are against playoff contenders.  They have a favorable closing month if they can survive September. 

Toronto FC

They will be trying to qualify for the postseason for the first time in team history.  It won't be easy with six of their remaining nine matches on the road where they have been historically awful.  Remaining MLS matches: @FCD, @CHI, DC, @HOU, SJ, @SEA, @CHV, CLB, @DC.

Kansas City

Five of their remaining nine matches are against playoffs contenders but their next three are against cellar dwellars.  Their fortunes may be known in the next few weeks.  Remaining MLS matches: @PHL, @CHV, HOU, FCD, @NY, SEA, @CHI, @NE, SJ. 

Chicago

With eleven matches remaining they are the only team with more than ten to play.  Six of the eleven are at home, which hasn't been much an advantage over the last few seasons since the Fire has had a propensity for dropping as many points at home as they have on the road over the last few years.  Only three of the eleven matches are against lower rung sides.  Remaining MLS matches: LA, TFC, @PHL, @RSL, SEA, @SJ, @FCD, CLB, KC, DC, @CHV. 

Who makes it?  I'll say Seattle, San Jose, and Chicago qualify for the remaining three spots while Colorado, Toronto, and Kansas City stay home. 

Here's an interesting site which uses statistical data to establish a percentage for qualifying.  The Rapids are currently at 82.6% to qualify while the Fire are at 29.2%.  The site's formula apparently can't account for road matches at New York, Salt Lake, Dallas, and Los Angeles.

One thing is certain.  It will take a minimum of 43 points just to qualify for the eigth spot.  The Fire can longer afford careless marking in the waning minutes or any minute for that matter. 

Comments

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  • ESPNChicago's Charlie Corr comments on the substitutions or lack thereof during the Seattle match.
    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/fire/post/_/id/555/fire-need-to-utilize-dept

  • In reply to cesba:

    i can't say i've been impressed by CDLC this year. if we miss the playoffs, do you think he'll return?

  • In reply to Drew:

    I would say yes.

  • In reply to Drew:

    Freddie Ljungberg first pitch at Wrigley Field: http://www.chicago-fire.com/content/freddies-first-pitch

  • In reply to Drew:

    Castillo says he's ready to play
    http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/chicagos-castillo-finally-fit-ready-play

  • In reply to cesba:

    So no more excuses. We'll see.

  • In reply to cesba:

    its gonna be great weather for the game,,,should pack the house...go fire

  • In reply to bert:

    Game will be a sell out.

  • Here's the official mid week injury report.

    CHICAGO FIRE -- OUT: DF Dasan Robinson (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: MF John Thorrington (R ankle contusion); MF Freddie Ljungberg (L calcaneal contusion)

  • In reply to cesba:

    surprised to see thor on there! ;)

  • In reply to cesba:

    May as well list Freddie as OUT. Will we see any DP's on Saturday? This is my first game in a couple of months and was bummed to see Freddie would have to miss the game.

  • In reply to oliotya:

    I have to believe Castillo will see some time although it may not be as a starter.

    Landon Donovan will be there for LA.

  • The LA game coming up is HUGE. If the Fire can stand up to the league leaders, not only will it move them up in their standings but it would provide some huge momentum going into the stretch run.

  • I just don't know what to think any more. The line up will be different again. I think
    McBride
    Patrick Thor Pause Nery Baggio
    Sagaress Conde Brown Steve

  • Again off topic but it is very frustrating to watch the Fox Soccer Report and see the news about Bob Bradley buried amid the much less significant news of player movement in Europe.

  • In reply to oliotya:

    Yes. I've always thought FSC was a bit too Euro-centric myself.

  • In reply to oliotya:

    Seems like the Bradley re-signing is recieving a lot of negative feedback, but I think it's a fine move. He's a pretty good coach, he gets a lot out of his players, and there weren't a whole lot of other options.

  • In reply to patrickhattrick:

    Besides Juergen Klinsmann, I guess there weren't other options. It was time to go in a new direction with the team. We barely got out of the easiest group in the WC. We gave up a goal or the other team hit the bar in the first 10 minutes of every game we played in. We dropped the ball not signing Klinsmann 4 years ago, and now we did it again.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Are you sure Klinsmann said he'd coach for the US?

    Part of our struggles also had to do with getting completely screwed by the refs, which isn't a coaching issue. He made some questionable calls, but I think he's a solid if not spectacular coach.

  • In reply to Drew:

    Starting Findley and Clark was a coaching issue.

  • In reply to fire1020:

    Bringing Findley to South Africa was a coaching issue.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    beating spain and reaching the confederations cup finals and playing very competitively against brazil was under his watch. they tied england and won their group and made it to the final 16.

    yes he made mistakes like i mentioned above (who doesn't?), but i still think he's a quality coach.

  • In reply to Drew:

    They won the group but with out the last second goal from donovan they don't advance.
    The lineup and the changes in the knock out round where terrible as well.
    Lastly, I think he is fine, but I think the records of managers staying on for a second WC has shown it isn't a good thing

  • In reply to lijien:

    i wasn't a fan of the lineup either vs. ghana, btw.

  • In reply to Drew:

    Sooo, the president of El Salvador would like to see De Los Cobos back in charge of the national team.
    http://futbol.univision.com/centroamerica/el-salvador/article/2010-09-01/gobierno-de-el-salvador-estaria

  • In reply to Drew:

    They also got beat 3-1 to Italy and 3-0 to Brazil. If Italy doesn't crap it's pants and lose 3-0 to Brazil on the last day, they are on a plane home. If Green doesn't throw the ball in the goal, they are on a plane home from the easiest group in the tournament.

    If that's your logic, then Denis the Menace should still be our coach for the Fire.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    if the refs didn't take multiple goals away from the team...

    and i'm sorry, but italy and brazil should be destroying us. they are that much better talent wise. the fact that we almost beat brazil in the confed cup finals and did beat spain in the semis means a lot to me. it shows that he can get the team to a very high level if things come together.

    i just think some of us have completely unrealistic visions of where the US is talent wise and what a coach can do with that (lack of) talent.

  • In reply to Drew:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/blog/dirty-tackle/post/Bob-Bradley-stays-on-to-keep-the-U-S-from-movin?urn=sow-266483

    Sure he beat Spain in the Confederations Cup but they were, once again, extremely lucky to get out of the group in that tournament too. They get smoked by Italy and Brazil and then they score 3 goals in one game and Italy lose by three goals. Bradley did what he was supposed to do with this team. He took the team as far as he could. We need to find a coach, Klinsmann, that can take us to the next level.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    lucky to make it to the finals. bad coaching to lose to ghana. seems a bit unfair to me.

    finally, it's not even that i think that klinsman isn't a better option. i'm just saying that i don't think bradley is a bad coach and while he makes mistakes (like ALL coaches), i think we should respect what he's accomplished. i don't think the US is in bad hands moving forward.

    but, i know, it's quite popular to hate coaches and blame them for any failure.

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