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Will Sporting KC Make the Playoffs?



By: Travis Mitchell (@SKCSpins)

So here we are. We went from the worst team in the MLS, to the best team for a month, only to fall into some weird middle ground. To be honest, I haven’t had a strong opinion about this team in a while, so I haven’t really had the impetus to write any articles about SKC. Early last week I decided I was going to write an article after this week’s game, I thought to myself, lets see what the team looks like after a week’s worth of rest and see if they can pull together a good performance against Vancouver. Well, things went well and we won 3-0, and, through writing this article, I’ll try to figure out if we are good enough to make the playoffs or not.

So, the first question is, how many points will Sporting Kansas City need to be above the 9th place playoff line? Over the last three years in order to finish the season in 9th place in the Western Conference teams scored—


YEAR

PPG

2020

1.17

2021

1.32

2022

1.26

Average

1.25

1.25 multiplied by 34 games is 42.5 pts—so 43 will be our goalpost for 9th place play-in position in this exercise. In order to skip the play-in game we’ll need to be 7th place. Here are the numbers for 7th place in the Western Conference--


YEAR

PPG

2020

1.45

2021

1.41

2022

1.38

Average

1.41


1.41 multiplied by 34 games leaves us at a goalpost 47.94 or we’ll say 48 for 7th place.

Currently SKC are 22 games into their season and sitting in 10th place with 24 points. That leaves the team 12 games to make up ground and determine their final standing. To hit the 7th place goal of 48 points, they’ll need to score another 24 points, averaging 2 points per game in their final 12. In order to come in 9th place and have a shot at the play-in they’ll need to score another 19 points or average 1.58 points per game in their final 12.

Sporting was not in form as a team until Alan Pulido was 90 minutes fit. He wasn’t the only factor that brought the team to form, but I think the numbers after his return to form are much more indicative of what the team is today than what they were before. Since his return to form Sporting Kansas City have Won-6, Lost-4 and Tied-3. This puts SKC at a pace of 1.61 points per game. If they continue at this rate, they will barely eek in by .03 points per game into 9th place. However, I think that there is another very important factor that needs to be considered. Sporting Kansas City has front loaded their season and has played more games than anyone else in the MLS Season. This leads other teams to have games in hand which is why I based my numbers off of points per game. That said, on short rest the team has been terrible. This led me to create this Chart--


Amount Rested

Record (W-L-D)

PPG

More Than 5 Days

4-7-3

0.68

Less Than 5 Days

2-3-3

1.125

More Than 5 Days (Pulido 90 Fit)

4-1-0

2.4

Less Than 5 Days (Pulido 90 Fit)

2-3-3

1.125


So, as we can see the team has progressed quite a bit from how they started the year. Let’s look at the remaining games, and plug in the numbers for the number of days rested. For our final 12 games we have 8 with more than 5 days of rest and 4 that are on short rest. Using the post Pulido return to 90 minutes fit numbers we can predict that the team will score 23.7 or 24 more points, putting them right on the line for the 48 points needed to skip the play-in game.

Its insane how much change this team has gone through during the season, but I am confident that when in form we are better than the lower half of the Western Conference and competitive with the top. What this team needs to compete at that level is health and rest. For the remainder of the season, we have enough rest to make it, if the team stays healthy, I am confident that we will make the playoffs.

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