The staff here at Hudson River Blue can’t walk five feet down the street without somebody stopping us to ask what New York City FC need to do to make the playoffs for the eighth consecutive year. The short answer? Finish the season with 44 points (or so we think: more on that below). That got us thinking: What better way to follow the team’s march to the postseason than with HRB’s first-ever NYCFC playoff tracker?
And what better way to visualize that campaign than with a fundraising thermometer? If it’s good enough for every PTA in this nation, it’s good enough for us.
The truth is, that 44-point goal is our best guess for fishing the season in ninth place and grabbing the last playoff spot. As False 9 columnist Corey Clayton explained in the pages last month, ninth-place teams averaged 40.9 points these past five years. Last year, ninth-place Charlotte FC finished the season with 42 points; the year before, Columbus Crew did it with 47.
Clayton wrote that 42.5 points should be enough to make the playoffs when accounting for the number of draws in MLS this year, so he landed at a 43-point benchmark. Fair enough. But in the long fundraising tradition of rounding up, we set the goal at 44.
Clayton also pointed out that 49 points will clinch a playoff spot. There’s no arguing with math.
NYCFC playoff picture: 5 wins or bust
Here’s the long answer to the question posed at the beginning of this post: NYCFC have ten games left this season, and need to take an estimated minimum of 18 points out of the remaining 30 points in play. That’s six wins, or five wins and three draws.
It’s mathematically possible to get to 18 points with four wins and six draws, but it’s highly unlikely.
Keep in mind that NYCFC have only five wins out of the 24 games played so far this season. They’ll need to double that tally in these next ten games.
Home again, home again, jiggity-jig
NYCFC have arguably the most forgiving schedule in MLS right now: Fully seven of their final ten games will be played at home.
But “home” is a moving target for New York City. Three of those games will be at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, two at Citi Field in Queens, and two at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey. The Willets Point stadium NYCFC announced for 2027 can’t open soon enough.
As for those three away games, one is in Ohio against a league-leading FC Cincinnati. Another is in Ft Lauderdale against an Inter Miami that NYCFC owned last year, but that since have made some solid signings.
If we’re going to add more sky-blue to the NYCFC playoff thermometer above, New York City will need to be ruthless with the wins they can nail down.