26 August 2005

The Path Ahead, Part 2

[Part 1: DCU's final games]

In order to figure out the seeding battle for the rest of the East, a look at the schedules show that New England and Kansas City are teams battling with DCU for the top 2 seeds. The Fire only have seven games remaining to score points, five of them are on the road. A winning record despite the number of away games (projected at 3-2-2) only nets them 50 points and the fourth seed.

The biggest factor in this entire equation is, wait for it... the MetroStars. And DCU fans are going to be in the unfortunate position of rooting for a couple of Metro wins. The Metros have 7 of their 8 remaining games against Eastern conference opponents. If DCU can hold serve against the SuperClub, then the following Metro games become very, very interesting for seeding purposes:

Sep. 3rd, hosting Kansas City
Sep. 10th, at Kansas City
Sep. 17th, hosting New England
Sep. 24th, at New England

All of these games occur before DCU's final two games against the Metros. So wins will help DCU in the seeding race, but come at the expense of giving the Metros momentum (if you believe in that, and I do) before the final 2 games against DCU. The Metros also play their final game at Chivas, which should be very interesting. With a few wins, their season could have on that game. What's more, of all the guesses I've made about the remaining team's wins and losses, I am least confident in games that deal with the Metros.

The Saturday match also becomes huge for DCU. My current projections do not call for a DCU win here, but giving 3 points to New England may mean they can't be caught by DC. A draw and things stay on schedule.

Here's how I figure it...

New England, 9 games remaining:
DCU, @RSL, Crew, @Metro, @ Crew, Metro, SJ, @KC, Chicago
Projected Results: 4-2-3 (+15 points, total of 57)

Kansas City, 8 games remaining:
Crew, @Metro, Metro, LA, @LA, Chicago, NE, @FCD
Projected Results: 3-2-3 (+12 points, total of 53)

Chicago Fire, 7 games remaining:
@LA, @Crew, @SJ, @KC, Metro, Crew, @NE
Projected Results: 3-2-2 (+11 points, total of 50)

MetroStars, 8 games remaining:
KC, @KC, NE, @NE, DCU, @Chicago, @DCU, @Chivas
Projected Results: 2-2-4 (+10 points, total of 43)

East Final Standings (projected)
1 57 pts New England
2 56pts DC United

3 53pts Kansas City
4 50pts Chicago Fire
5 43pts Metros