Red Line Report - DL image

It's been a wild MLS season and after five and a half months of play, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. More importantly, every team is trying to get above the red line.


FC Dallas, the Colorado Rapids and the LA Galaxy have set themselves apart at the top of the Western Conference and Supporters' Shield standings. At the bottom of the West, it appears there are five teams fighting for two spots, including all three Cascadia teams.


In the East it is a bit simpler. There are five teams (New York City FC, Toronto FC, New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union, Montreal Impact) that are all but assured of playoff spots, with the sixth spot completely up for grabs. The first five teams will also be jockeying for position to capture a CONCACAF Champions League berth as the top team in the conference, and a bye into the conference semifinals.


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. LA Galaxy


VS.


6. Portland Timbers


Knockout Round


4. Real Salt Lake


VS.


5. Sporting Kansas City


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 Expected Points metric is strictly based off of what teams have done up to this point. For example, New York City FC have collected 1.42 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 51.54 points.


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

Red Line Report: Who has the easiest schedule for the rest of the season? - https://league-mp7static.mlsdigital.net/images/East-SOS-Week-23.jpg
TEAM
EXPECTED POINTS
New York City FC
51.54
Toronto FC
54.09
New York Red Bulls
50.13
Philadelphia Union
48.17
Montreal Impact
49.45
D.C. United
39.41
Orlando City SC
39.28
New England Revolution
36.83
Columbus Crew SC
29.18
Chicago Fire
29.36
Red Line Report: Who has the easiest schedule for the rest of the season? - https://league-mp7static.mlsdigital.net/images/West-SOS-Week-23.jpg?null
TEAM
EXPECTED POINTS
FC Dallas
60.37
Colorado Rapids
61.05
LA Galaxy
55.64
Real Salt Lake
52.55
Sporting Kansas City
45.77
Portland Timbers
42.50
San Jose Earthquakes
46.75
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
40.32
Seattle Sounders
39.28
Houston Dynamo
32.07