MLS Table Talk (Week 20) - Narrowing of the Gaps

The story of the table this week is the narrowing of two gap. The field is beginning to gain on the lead trio just as the race for the final playoff spots begins to heat up. At the top, the Revs continue their reign as kings of the hill, trailed by the Texas duo, but United, the Red Bulls, and Chivas are all creeping into contention for the crown. This becomes even more evident in the points-per-game table, which has four teams piled into the 1.65-1.71 range behind the Revs (1.77 ppg) and DC United (1.74 ppg). The hunt is on for the Supporters' Shield!

At the other end of the playoff picture, the Wizards and Crew are sliding back towards the Rapids and Fire, who are starting to heat up at the right time to make a serious run. Though Toronto are ostensibly still in the picture based upon points and table position, it's hard to see them recovering from their current run of form to mount a serious challenge. Likewise, while Beckham has raised the level of play for LA, they are busy squandering games in hand and could find themselves well and truly out of the playoffs in the next couple of weeks unless they start finding points in tasty bunches of three.

The scoring mojo is now firmly with DC United, who lead the field with 1.68 goals per game as their Brazilian duo becomes more influential, while RSL continue their miserable search for the net at a paltry 0.78 goals per game. At the other end, nobody can challenge the Dynamo's downright miserly 0.68 goals allowed per game. TFC can only dream of that kind of defensive record as they're surrendering at a rate of 1.62 goals per game and it only seems to be getting worse.

Much has been made of this being the best MLS regular season yet. The added bonuses of international tourney qualification and the instant impact of the DP's has only served to add spice to an already exciting dish. Many - including yours truly - looked at the field in pre-season and found the rest wanting behind the favorites out of DC and Houston, but so far, fully half of the field seems to still have their eyes on the regular season crown. At the other end of the table, only RSL are really out of the playoff picture, though TFC and LA are showing every sign of joining them soon.


  1. United has the second best gpg, losing out by a fiftieth of a point to RBNY, whose gpg was buoyed by the five goals scored vs. LAG (four of which LAG scored back) and whose goal differential and ppg are both inferior to DCU's.

    What kind of chances do you think DCU has of securing the Supporters' Shield? Personally I think those chances are slim to none simply because of the sabotage done by our lackluster start to the season, but I dunno. Does United still have a good chance at #1?

  2. Good spot on the gpg - guess I'm blind to anything positive that the Red Bulls do :-)

    Two weeks ago, I would have said no way to the Supporters' Shield. Actually, I think I said just that a week ago in my Tickle v. Tackle column after the SuperLiga bow out. Now, I'm not so sure. The two biggest factors will be (1) can somebody else besides Emiligol become a regular goal threat and (2) can the road form continue?

    At this point, I'd say it's whoever stays most consistent among Houston, Dallas, DC, and the Revs, with Houston probably being most likely.