MLS Table Talk (Week 15) - Not So Bullish
Not much movement this week in the MLS table as the same sides continue to sit in the playoff positions. The Wizards claim back one of the SuperLiga spots in the top four at the expense of the Red Bulls, who continue to struggle, but are still within striking distance of a top four finish. In fact, there are six teams packed into a four point range that are vying for those spots and the majority of those teams have two or three games in hand on the leaders.
A quick glance at the points per game table sees the Dynamo creeping out to a clear lead with the Revs and Dallas trailing by a bit and a pack of four led by United and Chivas hot on the heels of those two sides. Toronto has worked their way into a clear view of Columbus, who sit in the final playoff spot, while the Galaxy lead a sorry trailing pack of three with RSL falling way out of touch in last place.
KC and the Revs continue to be among the top scoring sides, but are joined this week by DC United. On the other end of the spectrum, RSL, Chicago, and Colorado are all firing blanks, averaging below a goal per game. Defensively, Houston are clearly the class of the league, while Chicago and RSL are conceding around three times as many goals as the Dynamo.
So technically we've now reached the halfway point, but it's hard to get the clearest picture beyond the fact that the Dynamo are the clear favorites at this stage and RSL are at the bottom. Contributing to the confusion are the inequities in scheduling evidenced by LA having played just two-thirds of the games (12) that Houston has (18). The conference structure throws another wrench into the big picture as the East clearly has more quality sides than the West, but they're all playing each other more often and thus keeping the points totals lower, while the top sides in the West have a clear gap in quality over a greater number of bottom sides and are taking advantage of that disparity. Later this week, we'll take a look at how the pre-season predictions made by The Fullback Files are holding up to the pressures of reality.