MLS Table Talk (Week 24) - Revenge of the Strata
They're Baa-aack! Not that they ever broke up that much, but the strata are back in a big way in this week's table, which bears a disturbing resemblance to a core sample. At the bottom, the three team base is packed into a four-point range, supporting the three battlers for the final playoff spot in a two-point pickle, the three playoff-bound but pretty much out of the Supporters' Shield race clubs stuffed into a three point calzone, and DC United as the thin, flaky crust atop a three team title-contender pie separated by just one point. Despite all the shifts to align themselves in tiers, there wasn't much actual movement on the table with Colorado and the Crew swapping places just out of the playoff picture.
The points per game table is a bit more broken up, but it does confirm that FC Dallas have pretty much fallen out of the picture for the Supporters' Shield as they inch back towards the Bulls and Wiz in the Land of Mediocrity. In the battle at the bottom of the playoff spots, Chicago have opened up a small, but noticeable, gap; while at the very bottom of everything, the Gals now no longer have the cold comfort of a superior points-per-game average over their "relegation rivals". In fact, LA are bottom of both the actual table and the points-per-game table. Ah well, at least they're averaging more goals per game than any of the contenders for the final playoff spot. SuperClub, SuperClub, SUPERCLUB!
Goals scored and allowed per game have pretty much been fixed over the last month or so. DC United are clearly the most potent attacking force, averaging nearly 2 goals per game, while TFC are in desperate need of some little blue pills as they manage a mere 0.75 per game. Defensively, Chivas are creeping closer and closer to the Dynamo in the keeping-them-out department, as both sides boast the only sub-1.0 goals allowed per game records. At the other end, the SuperClub continue to widen the gap for defensive incompetence as they creep every closer to the elusive two goals allowed per game barrier. I imagine that's something like the sound barrier, only when they reach the two goals per game mark, the massive "whoomph" coming from the direction of LA will be the collective sound of Alexi Lalas', Frank Yallop's, and David Beckham's heads imploding. Now imagine the astronomical goals against they could be sporting if they didn't have one of the best keepers in the league in Joe Cannon. SuperClub!
While the table seems to have gone a bit stagnant as far as positions are concerned, the races are tightening up as we come down to a handful of games remaining. United have the lead in the race for the regular season crown, but their three main rivals are still within striking distance. The Western Conference crown, and corresponding home-field advantage, is going down to the wire, with Chivas' impressive unbeaten record at the Toolbox meaning that they could really do with that home-cooking boost. Despite looking like they might be dragged back into the muddle at the bottom of the playoffs, the Bulls and Wiz have done enough to almost guarantee their post-season places, while the Fire, Rapids, and Crew continue their almighty scrap for the right to extend their seasons by at least two fixtures. Roll on Week 25!