Why it could already be too late for some teams to make the playoffs

We are only two months into the 2016 season and many teams are still evaluating who they are and how their season will go. But for some teams, their odds of making the playoffs are already fading fast.

8 points in 7 games threshold

Going back to 2011, there have been 28 teams that have not hit eight points through seven games. Of those 28 teams, only three have made the playoffs (see data below).

New York Red Bulls, D.C. United, New York City FC, Vancouver Whitecaps, Seattle Sounders and Houston Dynamo have failed to reach eight points in their first seven games and should be concerned about their chances of making the playoffs.

The Chicago Fire currently sit on six points through their sixth game. They will have a chance to get to nine points through seven games with a win vs. United on Saturday (5 pm ET on MLS LIVE).

Playing in the East may help you beat the odds

Only three teams in the Eastern have collected more than 10 points through seven games. So one team that did not hit eight points in seven games – D.C. – is currently above the red line in a playoff position.

In 2011, Sporting KC was in the Eastern Conference and had only four points after seven games but made the playoffs. Part of their slow start was due to playing their first 10 matches on the road.

In 2014, NY Red Bulls had only seven points after seven matches and made the playoffs.

Does expanding the playoffs to 12 teams help a team beat the odds?

Despite expanding the playoffs in 2015 from five to six teams per conference, the four teams that had fewer that eight points failed to make the playoffs. NYCFC, Philadelphia, Colorado, and Real Salt Lake all had fewer than eight points after seven games and failed to make the 2015 MLS playoffs.

2015 STANDINGS AFTER 7 GAMES

Teams with an asterisk and in red failed to make the playoffs

Eastern Conference Points Western Conference Points
D.C. United 14 FC Dallas 13
New York Red Bulls 13 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 13
Columbus Crew SC 11 Seattle Sounders 13
New England Revolution 11 LA Galaxy 11
Toronto FC 9 Portland Timbers 9
Chicago Fire* 9 Sporting Kansas City 9
Montreal Impact 8 San Jose Earthquakes* 9
Orlando City SC* 8 Houston Dynamo* 9
New York City FC* 6 Real Salt Lake* 9
Philadelphia Union* 6 Colorado Rapids* 7

2014 STANDINGS AFTER 7 GAMES

Teams with an asterisk and in red failed to make the playoffs

Eastern Conference Points Western Conference Points
Columbus Crew SC 12 FC Dallas 16
D.C. United 11 Seattle Sounders 13
Sporting Kansas City 11 Real Salt Lake 13
Toronto FC* 9 Colorado Rapids* 11
New England Revolution 8 LA Galaxy 9
New York Red Bulls 7 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 9
Philadelphia Union* 7 Chivas USA* 6
Houston Dynamo* 7 San Jose Earthquakes* 6
Chicago Fire* 6 Portland Timbers* 4
Montreal Impact* 3    

2013 STANDINGS AFTER 7 GAMES

Teams with an asterisk and in red failed to make the playoffs

Eastern Conference Points Western Conference Points
Montreal Impact 16 FC Dallas* 16
Sporting Kansas City 14 LA Galaxy 14
Houston Dynamo 13 Portland Timbers 10
Philadelphia Union* 11 Chivas USA* 10
Columbus Crew SC* 9 Real Salt Lake 8
New York Red Bulls 8 Colorado Rapids 8
New England Revolution 8 San Jose Earthquakes* 8
Chicago Fire* 7 Vancouver Whitecaps FC* 8
Toronto FC* 7 Seattle Sounders 6
D.C. United* 4    

2012 STANDINGS AFTER 7 GAMES

Teams with an asterisk and in red failed to make the playoffs

Eastern Conference Points Western Conference Points
Sporting Kansas City 21 San Jose Earthquakes 16
Chicago Fire 11 Seattle Sounders 16
New York Red Bulls 10 Real Salt Lake 15
D.C. United 9 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 11
Houston Dynamo 8 LA Galaxy 10
Columbus Crew SC* 7 FC Dallas* 10
Philadelphia Union* 7 Colorado Rapids* 9
New England Revolution* 6 Chivas USA* 9
Montreal Impact* 4 Portland Timbers* 7
Toronto FC* 0    

2011 STANDINGS AFTER 7 GAMES

Teams with an asterisk and in red failed to make the playoffs

Eastern Conference Points Western Conference Points
New York Red Bulls 14 Real Salt Lake 16
Philadelphia Union 13 LA Galaxy 12
Houston Dynamo 12 FC Dallas 10
Columbus Crew SC 12 Colorado Rapids 10
New England Revolution* 9 Portland Timbers* 10
D.C. United* 7 Seattle Sounders 9
Toronto FC* 7 Chivas USA* 9
Chicago Fire* 6 Vancouver Whitecaps FC* 6
Sporting Kansas City 4 San Jose Earthquakes* 5
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