So it has been a rough couple of weeks around Chivatown, and I'm here to give you a dose of what's real, at least as far as playoff chances for Chivas USA. I'm not going to lie, there's real reason for pessimism at this point, but let me break down the current odds and what's left to do in order for the Goats to get into the postseason. Here's the gist: it is still possible, but it is going to be very hard work.
In order to look at the full picture, we'll show three sides to this story. First up, the playoff odds at the moment.Playoff Odds:
At the moment, Chivas' playoff odds have dropped to a mere 8 percent. Prior to the match against Portland on August 24, their odds were just above 50 percent, so the last three losses have been really significant. In fact, the team with the next highest odds are the Timbers, who have a 32 percent chance of making the playoffs at this point. So Chivas seem to have really dropped off a cliff, and it doesn't look very likely they'll get into the postseason. The statistics indicate that Chivas have the best odds of finishing in 13th place, which would be a drop-off compared to their place for most of the season, which has mostly fluctuated between 9th and 11th place.
Not going to lie, this next stretch has some games that look winnable, and some games that probably don't. Here's the rest of the schedule for the season, complete with points totals and current place in overall standings:
9/17: At Chicago Fire (27 points, 15th place overall)
9/21: At DC United (34 points, 10th place overall)
9/24: Toronto FC (27 points, 17th place overall)
10/2: Philadelphia Union (36 points, 8th place overall, currently in 3rd automatic slot in East)
10/16: At LA Galaxy (55 points, 1st place overall, currently in 1st automatic slot in West)
10/22: Seattle Sounders (48 points, 2nd place overall, currently in 2nd automatic slot in West)
As you can see, the first three games are against teams near or below Chivas in the standings. In other words, they are all must-win games, since the final three games are presumably more difficult. Here's the scores from the first matches this season against all of these opponents:
Chicago (7/2): Draw, 1-1 at home
DC (9/10): Loss, 0-3 at home
Toronto (4/2): Draw, 1-1 in Toronto
Philadelphia (6/25): Loss, 3-2 in Philadelphia
Galaxy (5/21): Loss, 0-1 at home
Seattle (8/13): Draw, 0-0 in Seattle
So Chivas have gotten three points from these six opponents in the first encounters. Not a great return. From this, it looks even less likely Chivas will get the job done, although there are a few caveats. First, Chicago just played in a loss as demoralizing as Chivas' last weekend, losing 2-0 to San Jose. Now, they may light a fire because of it, but they seem especially ripe for the picking this weekend for the Goats. Toronto has had a very inconsistent season, but they may be better now than in the last meeting with Chivas, so that may be a tougher game than one would anticipate.
Philadelphia and DC seem to be going in opposite directions at the moment. They are separated by only 2 points, but DC seems to be on an upward trajectory while the Union seems to be moving backwards. It is not inconceivable that they could swap positions before the end of the season. That being said, both teams have already beaten Chivas once. For the Galaxy and Sounders, both teams have wrapped up both their playoff berths and just about wrapped up their position in the overall standings, so they may sit some of their starters and play their second-string players, which could open the door for Chivas in those matches. However, this may end up being a negative as both the Galaxy and Sounders have pretty deep squads, and the second-string squad players may be motivated to impress their coaches ahead of the playoffs. However, the Sounders play Monterrey at home in CONCACAF Champions League play the Tuesday before the season finale with Chivas, so they may be preoccupied when they come to the Home Depot Center.
The current points projection to get into the playoffs rests at 44 to 45 points. Chivas currently have 31 points, so they need to get 13 to 14 more to make it in. I don't need to tell you that there is a lot of work left if Chivas want to get to the postseason. Essentially, they must win four of the last six and tie one or both of the other two to get in, or win five of six outright. If they lose three games, or tie three games, they will be eliminated. The margin is razor thin at this point. Can Chivas get the job done?
What do you think? Leave a comment below!