Tuesday, September 18, 2007

MLS Playoffs: Eating Puppies and Sleeping Giants

While committing armed robbery (or searching for the real killers) at a Las Vegas Hotel, mystified by the current state of pop culture, we thought, "Who's gonna make the Major League Soccer Postseason Tourney?" So, without hapless Apu, here's the Red Bull Rising Race for the MLS Cup Report, Part Deux. All information below is based on official data from the MLSnet.com Playoff Standings page, gleefully sans the red-fonted advisory: The seeding procedure described above is correct. Spin that wheel!

DC United (49 points), Houston Dynamo (45) and the New England Revolution (45) have clinched postseason berths and are now presumably concentrating on winning their respective conferences and earning higher seeds for the MLS playoffs. Surging Chivas USA is just off the pace with 44 points, and with two games in hand may yet nip Houston for the top spot in the West, with postseason qualification all but guaranteed.

That leaves four remaining playoff slots, with FC Dallas (39 points, 24 games played), Red Bull New York (37, 25) and the Kansas City Wizards (36, 25) the frontrunners for three positions and a potentially juicy three-way confrontation between the Chicago Fire (30 points, 24 games played), Colorado Rapids (29, 25) and the Columbus Crew (28, 25) for the final postseason spot for MLS 2007.

What separates Chicago, Colorado and Columbus (other than a woefully underfinanced, crumbling infrastructure) you may ask? Besides the various on-field talents and clipboard gurus, the defining factor in this contest of relative mediocrity is the Puppy-to-Giant Ratio, as applied to game schedules. The squad that manages to Feast on More Puppies and Avoid (Or Defeat) More Sleeping Giants will enter the MLS 2007 Postseason Extravaganza.

CHICAGO (30 points) -- Boasting the best current form of the Trembling Trio, the Fire also have a game in hand. The problem for Fire fans is the schedule is not kind to the Windy City Whiners (see Blanco, Wanchope). Chicago has only one measly Puppy (LA Galaxy) in their final six matches, with five Sleeping Giants (East-leading DC United twice, and once each against New England, Chivas and FC Dallas). The Fire have also sandwiched in a friendly against Cruz Azul, a match you'd think would require the participation of Blanco, who was visibly huffing-and-puffing at the close of the Red Bull match on Saturday night. Puppy-Giant Ratio: (-4). Not good.

COLORADO (29 points) -- Not all Puppies are created equal, but even though Real Salt Lake is a bitter Rocky Mountain Rival to the Rapids of Coorsville, the Jason Kreis Gang, even baring teeth are still Puppies. Colorado faces RSL twice, in addition to absolutely toothless Puppy Toronto FC once. Sleeping Giants Chivas and the Revs round out the sked. Puppy-Giant Ratio: (+1). Mmmm. Mmmm. Good.

COLUMBUS (28 points) -- The Crew, coming off a devastating loss to Kansas City on Saturday night, could get well right quick with a pair of adorable Puppies just waiting for them in the next two weeks (TFC on 9/22 and The Alexi Lalas Project on 9/30). Six Possible Puppy Points in hand, Columbus ends its season with three-straight Sleeping Giants, FC Dallas at home and road matches at New England and DC United. Puppy-Giant Ratio: (-1). Could be worse.

So, based on our highly-scientific, tirelessly researched (for over half-an-hour!) Puppy-to-Giant Ratio, while most may think the admittedly better Chicago Fire will secure the final Major League Soccer playoff invitation, don't be surprised if the Colorado Rapids fatten up on some tasty Puppies and earn a spot at the Big Table.

  • Click here for Part One of the Red Bull Rising Race for the MLS Cup Report

    The Manly Ferry said...

    I like that breakdown...and the terminology - e.g. puppies v. giants - is wonderful.

    But, when I did a slightly different tea-leaf reading of my own, I saw potential for Kansas City to get sucked down into the swamp. Just one guy's opinion.

    Riles said...

    Anything's possible, but with a six-point cushion and Puppy LA, three Sleeping Giants (Chivas-DC-Dallas) and fellow Middle-of-The-Roader Red Bull New York (neutral, zero-rating on the Puppy-to-Giant scale) on tap, Kansas City comes up with a (-2) Puppy-Giant Ratio, which should be just enough to hold off Chicago and/or Colorado. Then again, if Shep Messing says the Rapids are gonna make it, perhaps all bets are off!

    Anonymous said...

    For the math god's sake! A ratio is not adding and subtracting numbers. How about Puppy-to-Giant balance?

    Riles said...

    Yo, Anonymous Math God Worshiper, I was told there'd be no math!