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By the numbers: What will it take for the Quakes to make the MLS Playoffs?

The goal for the San Jose Earthquakes 2017 season was clear: make the playoffs. Following a disappointing campaign in 2016 that saw the Quakes fall from a team that was just shy of the postseason in 2015, to a team that was near the bottom of the table in 2016, the Quakes brought in new talent, and a new general manager (though the previous GM, John Doyle, was fired in August of 2016, before the team had been eliminated from playoff contention). What San Jose has to do to get in to the postseason, though, is still the question. Issues of offense, impactful designated players, and tactics are all worthy topics of discussion, but let’s get into the cold, nitty gritty details of actually making the postseason in the West, by way of points, wins, and points per game. We have to factor in the fact that before 2015, only the top 5 teams in each conference were getting into the playoffs, so we’ll use the 5th spot in the West as the measuring stick, because if the quakes get fifth, we can say they “made” the playoffs relatively safely.

5th place in 2012: Vancouver 43 points, 1.26 points per game, 11 wins,
5th place in 2013: San Jose (who did not get to playoffs on goals scored tie breaker, the only year it has been done that way) 51 points, 1.5 ppg, 14 wins,
5th place in 2014: Vancouver 50 points, 1.47 points per game, 12 wins,
5th place in 2015: LA Galaxy 51 points, 1.5 points per game 14 wins,
5th place in 2016: Sporting KC 47 points, 1.38 points per game, 13 wins

Low: 43 points
High: 51 points
Mode: 51 points

Points per game
Low: 1.26
High: 1.5
Mode: 1.5
Median: 1.42
Low: 11
High: 14
Mode: 14
Median: 12.8

The Earthquakes as of 04/21/17 and currently fifth in the West:
Points: 9 in 7 matches
Points per game: 1.29 in 7 matches
Wins: 2 in 7 matches

Per the standard set by the previous five seasons of the west in Major League Soccer, these numbers do note bode well for San Jose at this moment in time, but this “moment in time” is influenced by the ridiculously small sample size we have to work with. The Quakes have played eight matches, roughly 25% of their season, and there is simply far too much left in the season to say that these numbers are truly indicative of what the Quakes will be. Heck, with 1.14 points per game, RSL is sitting in sixth at the moment and that would not come close to qualifying them for the sixth and final spot when compared to the ppg put up by the teams that qualified in sixth over the past two seasons. 1.14 points would’ve landed you towards the bottom of the table, not in the playoffs if the season ended today (it rarely does). If the Quakes had won on Saturday, their ppg would have jumped to 1.5, which seems like a magic number for getting in with the five spot.

Next up for the Quakes is a trip to Minnesota FC Saturday 4/29.


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