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The Daily Wave: A Reason For Playoff Optimism

The trip to Kansas City was a tough one for Colorado Rapids, but there is a reason for playoff optimism when you look at their current form and the form of playoff contenders in the West.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Spor

This has been said a number of times before, but if you would have heard that the Rapids would be sitting fourth in the West with seven games left you would have taken it right? If you would have heard that the Rapids would have 2 points after 5 games (0-3-2) and are 10-5-7 since then you would have taken it right? But that is the thing about revised expectations as the season progresses. Because they are playing so well, our expectations have changed. The simple fact is this: the Burgundy Boys are in the hunt and have a GREAT chance to make the postseason, despite the terrible showing in Kansas City.

How can I say this when I look at standings and the whole "games in hand" thing?

I started to tinker with some numbers, current form, and overall points earned to see if there was a legitimate way to figure out what is going on. And since Major League Soccer does not believe in playing a balanced schedule, you have some teams that the Rapids have a game in hand on and then there is Seattle Sounders who have three games (as of Wednesday, September 4--Not counting the Chivas USA game) in hand on the Rapids.

I am not a big believe in points per game as a general rule. And because the Rapids started so poorly, it skews their current, more relevant, points per game. Plus current form (the last seven matches) is far more important (in my opinion) then what happened in March and April. (FC Dallas and Chivas USA are prime examples of this).

As I began to look at the math and such involved (my degree is in HR, so take this with the appropriate grain of salt), I came up with this formula:

Points per game in the last seven matches multiplied by number of matches remaining.

You then take that figure and add it to the points already earned.

Easy right!

It breaks out like this:

The Rapids are 3-1-3 in their last seven for 12 points (1.71 per game). If you project out 1.71 over their final seven games and add that total to their points already earned, they end at 51 points on the year (there is rounding involved).

If you take a look at the Western Conference, using that formula (and through Tuesday), final standings are:

Seattle Sounders 63 points
Los Angeles Galaxy 58 points
Real Salt Lake 57 points
Colorado Rapids 51 points
San Jose Earthquakes 47 points
Portland Timbers 46 points
FC Dallas 44 points
Vancouver Whitecaps 43 points
Chivas USA 35 points

Keep in mind that this does not take into account international absences, changes in form or injury. It is merely a way of taking a look at how things could end up in the Western Conference. And remember it changes each week as results come in.

So does this mean the Rapids will absolutely make the playoffs and meet up with San Jose Earthquakes in the Wildcard round? No clue. But I will take that 4th place finish in comparison to where most thought they would end up: the bottom of the table.