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Will Toronto FC make the Playoffs?

With six games remaining, can they make it?

With TFC’s current form, will they have reason to celebrate after October 9th?
Sean Pollock - Waking the Red

Due to the FIFA World Cup being played in November and December, the 2022 MLS schedule has been compressed. With that tweak, we’re able to see the playoff picture developing a bit earlier than usual this year.

With six games remaining in the regular season, there is certainly a chance for TFC to qualify for the playoffs, but it means they might need to get help from other teams. There are a number of scenarios that can be used to try to predict the rest of the regular season. Where does TFC end up with these scenarios?

Here are the current Eastern Conference Standings:

Eastern Conference Standings

 Team PL W D L GF GA GD PTS PPG
 Team PL W D L GF GA GD PTS PPG
1 Philadelphia Union 28 15 9 4 57 20 37 54 1.93
2 CF Montreal 27 15 4 8 49 41 8 49 1.81
3 New York City FC 27 13 6 8 49 32 17 45 1.67
4 New York Red Bulls 28 12 8 8 44 34 10 44 1.57
5 Orlando City 28 11 6 10 32 38 -6 39 1.39
6 Columbus Crew 26 8 12 6 36 31 5 36 1.38
7 Inter Miami 27 10 6 11 35 45 -10 36 1.33
8 FC Cincinnati 27 8 11 8 45 48 -3 35 1.30
9 New England Revolution 27 8 10 9 39 42 -3 34 1.26
10 Toronto FC 28 9 6 13 42 47 -5 33 1.18
11 Atlanta United 27 8 9 10 36 40 -4 33 1.22
12 Charlotte FC 28 10 2 16 34 44 -10 32 1.14
13 Chicago Fire FC 27 8 6 13 28 38 -10 30 1.11
14 DC United 27 6 4 17 30 58 -28 22 0.81

Toronto sits in 10th place, but is only 3 points out of 7th place. One of the concerning things to note is that Cincinnati and New England have one game at hand, while Columbus has two games at hand. This detail makes the playoffs a little bit further away for TFC.


Scenario #1

Here are the final standings in the Eastern Conference based on points per game for the whole season.

Predictions based on Whole Season PPG

 Team PL W D L GF GA GD PTS PPG Projected Points
 Team PL W D L GF GA GD PTS PPG Projected Points
1 Philadelphia Union 28 15 9 4 57 20 37 54 1.93 66
2 CF Montreal 27 15 4 8 49 41 8 49 1.81 62
3 New York City FC 27 13 6 8 49 32 17 45 1.67 57
4 New York Red Bulls 28 12 8 8 44 34 10 44 1.57 53
5 Orlando City 28 11 6 10 32 38 -6 39 1.39 47
6 Columbus Crew 26 8 12 6 36 31 5 36 1.38 47
7 Inter Miami 27 10 6 11 35 45 -10 36 1.33 45
8 FC Cincinnati 27 8 11 8 45 48 -3 35 1.3 44
9 New England Revolution 27 8 10 9 39 42 -3 34 1.26 43
10 Atlanta United 27 8 9 10 36 40 -4 33 1.22 42
11 Toronto FC 28 9 6 13 42 47 -5 33 1.18 40
12 Charlotte FC 28 10 2 16 34 44 -10 32 1.14 39
13 Chicago Fire FC 27 8 6 13 28 38 -10 30 1.11 38
14 DC United 27 6 4 17 30 58 -28 22 0.81 28

While this data could be used to predict playoffs, it is not the most accurate method, especially for Toronto. Over half of the matches were played BI (Before Italians) than AI (After Italians), thus not accounting for the team’s revamped roster. However, the problem is that these BI matches are still part of the season points total.

Verdict: Toronto FC finishes 11th, missing the playoffs.


Scenario #2

Here are the final standings in the Eastern Conference based on points per game for the last five games.

Standings based on Last 5 Matches

 Team PL W D L GF GA GD PTS Last 5 Wins Last 5 Draws Last 5 Losses last 5 Points Last 5 PPG Games Remaining Projected Pts. Projected Total
 Team PL W D L GF GA GD PTS Last 5 Wins Last 5 Draws Last 5 Losses last 5 Points Last 5 PPG Games Remaining Projected Pts. Projected Total
1 CF Montreal 27 15 4 8 49 41 8 49 4 1 0 13 2.6 7 18 67
2 Philadelphia Union 28 15 9 4 57 20 37 54 3 0 1 9 1.8 6 11 65
3 New York Red Bulls 28 12 8 8 44 34 10 44 2 2 1 8 1.6 6 10 54
4 Orlando City 28 11 6 10 32 38 -6 39 3 0 2 9 1.8 8 14 53
5 Inter Miami 27 10 6 11 35 45 -10 36 3 1 1 10 2 7 14 50
6 New York City FC 27 13 6 8 49 32 17 45 1 0 4 3 0.6 8 5 50
7 Atlanta United 27 8 9 10 36 40 -4 33 2 2 1 8 1.6 8 13 46
8 Columbus Crew 26 8 12 6 36 31 5 36 1 3 1 6 1.2 8 10 46
9 Toronto FC 28 9 6 13 42 47 -5 33 3 1 1 10 2 6 12 45
10 FC Cincinnati 27 8 11 8 45 48 -3 35 1 4 0 7 1.4 7 10 45
11 New England Revolution 27 8 10 9 39 42 -3 34 2 1 2 7 1.4 8 11 45
12 Charlotte FC 28 10 2 16 34 44 -10 32 1 0 4 3 0.6 6 4 36
13 Chicago Fire FC 27 8 6 13 28 38 -10 30 1 1 3 4 0.8 7 6 36
14 DC United 27 6 4 17 30 58 -28 22 0 1 4 1 0.2 8 2 24

This calculation takes into account TFC’s more recent form, which has been vastly improved since AI. However, five matches is only about 18% of the total of 28 matches so far this season, which is not necessarily the most accurate measure of a team’s form. While TFC has averaged 2 points per game over this stretch, it is still not enough to make the playoffs.

Verdict: Toronto FC finishes 9th, missing the playoffs.

(Interesting side note: Based on these calculations, the Mount Royal Foot Club would overtake Philadelphia at the top of the standings. Ugh.)


Scenario #3

Here are the final standings in the Eastern Conference based on predictions for each game remaining in the schedule for the Eastern Conference

Standings based on predictions

 Team Predicted Total Current Points TOTAL POINTS
 Team Predicted Total Current Points TOTAL POINTS
1 Philadelphia Union 12 54 66
2 CF Montreal 13 49 62
3 New York City FC 12 45 57
4 New York Red Bulls 9 44 53
5 Inter Miami 13 36 49
6 FC Cincinnati 13 35 48
7 Toronto FC 14 33 47
8 Columbus Crew 10 36 46
9 Orlando City 7 39 46
10 New England Revolution 10 34 44
11 Charlotte FC 9 32 41
12 Chicago Fire FC 0 30 30
13 Atlanta United 1 33 34
14 DC United 4 22 26

Toronto’s remaining matches (With wildly optimistic/somewhat realistic predictions):

August 31st vs. LA Galaxy

It’s a home game against the Galaxy. Greg Vanney is back in Toronto for the first time since leaving the club. There are a bunch of former Reds returning too, making it a huge match. TFC should come out flying in this game and put some goals past the Galaxy’s mediocre defence.

Result: TFC wins

September 4th vs. CF Montreal

Derby day on a long weekend against Montreal. It will literally be a carnival atmosphere at BMO on Sunday night with the CNE in full swing. Montreal is a good team. It will be a battle for the whole 90 minutes.

Result: Draw

September 10th at Atlanta United

Toronto always creates problems for Atlanta at the Mercedes Benz Stadium. With the addition of the Italians, TFC should make this team have nightmares. This match could end Atlanta’s playoff hopes. I will delight in the misfortune of Atlanta.

Result: TFC wins

September 17th at Orlando City

Orlando is a bit of a wild card, having lost to DC United and New England, but winning against NYCFC and the Red Bulls. TFC will face a tired team, as Orlando has five matches in 17 days. Toronto should be able to get a result in Florida.

Result: TFC wins

September 30th vs. Inter Miami

It’s the final home game of the regular season for TFC, which means get there early for your free toque! With the return of the Karate Kid Alejandro Pozuelo, this match should be a banger.

Result: TFC wins

October 9th at Philadelphia Union

Remember when TFC beat Philly at BMO earlier this season, handing the Union their first loss of the 2022 campaign? That result was certainly unexpected. This match might be a moot point for Philly, as they might have clinched first place by Decision Day. The Union might rest their starters.

Result: TFC wins

With a possible 18 points available, Toronto FC is capable of winning all six remaining matches. Realistically, TFC will need to get a result from every game with either a win or a draw. Having to play the top two teams in the Eastern Conference will hopefully result in a draw. With TFC having played one more match than many playoff contenders, it means that there is little room for error in this scenario.

Verdict: Toronto FC finishes 7th, making the playoffs.


Conclusion

While there are various scenarios available to predict playoff berths, the third Scenario is the most accurate. When looking at the Eastern Conference, there are only a few teams that TFC supporters need to be concerned with when scoreboard watching – Orlando, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Miami. Many of the remaining games see these teams playing each other, which can have a huge impact on the season outcome. If you’re curious, you can hope for a draw when these teams play each other, like the draw between Columbus and Cincinnati this past weekend.

Scenario #3 points to the fact that TFC needs to basically win almost every remaining game to have a chance at the playoffs. Also, the team will need some help in order to make it work.