Alright, so yesterday I expressed trepidation -- despite my earlier confidence -- that the Red Bulls could avoid a monumental collapse Saturday in Washington against D.C. United.
That just lead me to wonder exactly what the chances are a team would advance given a 2-0 lead in the home leg.
Thankfully, I didn't have to crunch the numbers myself, I suck at math and since Jonathan Liew did it for me in the Telegraph for a story published in March.
Liew looked at all the two-legged series played in both the Champions League and Europa League from the third qualifying rounds to the knockout rounds since 2009, leaving him with 1,200 games in total.
So good news: Sunday's 2-0 win gives the Red Bulls, by Liew's math, an 86.7 percent chance of advancing.
The only home leg result that would leave the New York Red Bulls a better chance of advancing is 3-0. No team, according to Liew's math has ever lost on aggregate after winning the first game 3-0.
That clean sheet is big, too. A 2-0 win is actually -- again, according to the stats published in the Telegraph -- better than a 3-1 win. The 3-1 result only gives a 79.2 percent chance of progressing, which speaks to how big a deal the league's move to the away goals rule is. Without crunching the numbers ourselves, it follows that without the away goals rule, a two goal deficit is a two goal deficit, even if the first leg ends 102-100 in a game utterly devoid of defense. Get two goals at home and you get extra time. Get a third and you're through. But with the away goals rule, that one goal means a ton. Two goals in the second leg means you're through. A third means your opponent is playing for extra time. Meanwhile, without that away goal, you need three to secure a spot in the next round.
Another point related to the away goals rule, a 2-1 win would only give the Red Bulls a 57.1 percent chance of advancing, while a 1-0 win gives a 67.5 percent chance.
Granted, it's not MLS -- though with the away goal rule new this season, an MLS-centric look wouldn't do us much good -- but thank God for the clean sheet.
I'm still going to hold on to my aliens/witches/reptilian shape shifters theory, though, just in case everything goes to hell.