Not long ago – in fact, just a month ago – former Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Mora’s infamous playoff rant wouldn’t have felt out of place in a discussion of the New England Revolution’s playoff chances. Now, after a five game unbeaten run (3 wins, 2 draws), the Revolution (5-4-5, 20 points) have the second best chance in the Eastern Conference of making the postseason at 83.2% according to Sports Club Stats.
So why do the sixth place Revolution, currently on the outside of the playoff picture, have the second best odds of earning a playoff berth in the East? The Revolution are only five points behind the second place New York Red Bulls with two games in hand and Sports Club Stats also factors strength of schedule into their simulations. Based on the upcoming schedule, the system projects the Revolution to have the best winning percentage in the league for the rest of the season.
Looking at the Revolution’s remaining 20 games, their opponents average position is just below 12th overall in the combined MLS standings of 19 teams and average just 1.2 points per game, while the average MLS team averages 1.36 points per game. Compared to their fellow playoff battlers in the East, on paper, the Revolution have the easiest schedule.
The Red Bulls, for example, who are second in the Eastern Conference standings, but third in the East in playoff chances at 77.7%, face teams with an average position of 10th in the standings that average 1.34 points per game. Meanwhile Philadelphia, who sit third in the East, but are 6th with a 54.7% chance at the postseason, face a difficult schedule with an average position of just below ninth and average points per game of 1.36.
Of course, while on paper, the Revolution may have the easiest remaining schedule, Saturday’s disappointing 0-0 draw with last place D.C. United — a team they face twice more this season — served of a remainder that the games aren’t played on paper. As D.C. proved, teams towards the bottom of the standings can be difficult to defeat as they play with desperation, seeking points any way they can get them. New England’s remaining 20 games will be filled with such games. If they can find a way to get wins against the league’s worst clubs, that should be enough to see them into the playoffs for the first time since 2009. If not, and the Revolution miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season, an unfavorable schedule certainly isn’t to blame.
Will the Revolution make the playoffs this season?
- Yes (81%, 129 Votes)
- No (19%, 31 Votes)
Total Voters: 160