Red Line Report - DL image

It's table-watching season in MLS. Sure, the standings matter plenty before August, but these days the MLS Cup Playoffs races taking form as 20 teams fight for 12 spots.


In the Eastern Conference, the landscape is unchanged from last week, with all six teams holding on to their places above the red line. Not so in the Western Conference, as Real Salt Lake moved up to third place thanks to their 3-1 win against FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City now hold the fourth spot after beating the Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-0.


If the regular season ended today ...


Eastern Conference Playoff Bracket


Conference Semifinals


1. New York City FC


Conference Semifinals


2. Toronto FC




Knockout Round


3. New York Red Bulls


VS.


6. D.C. United


Knockout Round


4. Philadelphia Union


VS.


5. Montreal Impact


Western Conference Playoff Bracket


Conference Semifinals


1. FC Dallas


Conference Semifinals


2. Colorado Rapids




Knockout Round


3. Real Salt Lake


VS.


6. Portland Timbers


Knockout Round


4. Sporting Kansas City


VS.


5. LA Galaxy


Strength of Schedule and Expected Points


The strength of schedule metric takes into account the average points per game (PPG) that each team's oppponents earn at home and on the road. The lower the PPG, the easier the schedule.


For example, if FC Dallas traveled to play the LA Galaxy, who have averaged 2.5 PPG at home, and then hosted the Vancouver Whitecaps, who have averaged 1.53 PPG on the road, their opponents' PPG would be 2.02. The higher the PPG, the more difficult a team's remaining schedule.


The Expected Points metric is strictly based off of what teams have done up to this point. For example, New York City FC have collected 1.54 points per game at home this season and 1.62 on the road. So if they continue averaging those totals, with five more home games left and four more road games, they should be expected to hit 53.62 points.


Here are both the Strength of Schedule and Expected Points rankings for each conference:

Red Line Report: Projecting the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs field - https://league-mp7static.mlsdigital.net/images/East-SOS-8-23-2016.jpg
TEAM
EXPECTED POINTS
Toronto FC
56.52
New York City FC
53.62
New York Red Bulls
50.60
Montreal Impact
46.75
Philadelphia Union
45.55
Orlando City SC
39.67
D.C. United
38.76
New England Revolution
34.76
Columbus Crew SC
33.36
Chicago Fire
33.36
Red Line Report: Projecting the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs field - https://league-mp7static.mlsdigital.net/images/West-SOS-8-23-2016.jpg
TEAM
EXPECTED POINTS
Colorado Rapids
59.08
FC Dallas
58.86
Real Salt Lake
53.83
LA Galaxy
53.83
Sporting Kansas City
47.08
San Jose Earthquakes
43.92
Portland Timbers
41.85
Seattle Sounders
41.13
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
39.23
Houston Dynamo
35.66