1. DC United | WDWDD | Next: SAT-Crew
Despite claiming the Supporters' Shield for the second year running, United are sputtering a bit down the stretch--but then, so are all of the top four as they get ready for the playoff push. Getting out-shot in your own house by the Fire is not a good sign, particularly when the Fire are shaping up to be your first-round playoff opponent. United will look to close the season on a high note against the Crew in a game that has little real meaning for either side but could be key to United's confidence going into the post-season.
2. (+1) Houston Dynamo | WWWLW | Next: SAT@Chivas
Back to winning ways, albeit narrowly, against RSL and they now control their own fate for the Western Conference crown with a title-decider against the Goats in the last match of the season. Only a win will do for the Dynamo if they hope to overtake Chivas.
3. (-1) Chivas USA | WDWDL | Next: SAT-Dynamo
Looked pretty toothless in their draw with a Dallas side not known for good defense and managed to lose Razov, probably for the rest of the season. Compound that with bowing out of the Supporters' Shield race by losing their first of the season at home--to a 10-man Rapids side--despite having the majority of the chances. Where's that finisher when you need him? Oh yeah, he's probably out for the season. Preki will have his work cut out getting the ship righted in time for the playoffs and it has to start this weekend as they entertain Houston in a match that will decide the winner of the Western Conference, with the corresponding home field advantage through to the final that said honor confers.
4. New England Revolution | WDWLL | Next: SAT@TFC
I've got a question for the Revs. When you need to win out to have a shot at winning not only the East, but the Supporters' Shield as well, why the hell are you jumping into the crowd after an equalizer with less than ten minutes to go in a game you have to win? Served them right that Schelotto stuck the dagger in a couple of minutes later. Too bad we won't have these two in a playoff series as they always seem to play barn-burners. The Revs will look to grab a morale-boosting victory in the Great White North this weekend as they travel to Speedbump BMO, née Fortress BMO.
5. Chicago Fire | DDDWD | Next: SUN-LA
Back on the draw train for the Blanco & Osorio Express, though to be fair, they did have the better chances and United should slip Troy Perkins a nice bonus check for covering up the gaffes at the back, particularly in an abysmal first half for the top dogs. The playoffs are looming for Chicago, they just need to close the deal in the final game of the MLS season against LA, a match that could have massive playoff implications. One word of warning for the Fire. Fear the Beckspiracy!
6. LA Galaxy | WWWWW | Next: THR-NYRB, SUN@Fire
Who'd a thunk it? Five wins on the trot and the Gals continue to blitz towards an unlikely playoff spot. It's all a tribute to Frank Yallop, who's gotten a remarkable amount of blood from this particular stone that Big Red laid in his lap. If Lalas is still in his job next year and Yallop is looking for work, I'll have too things to say. First, if I were a teenaged girl, I'd be all like, "OMFG, WTF?" However, if I were a thirty-something dedicated, snobbish, cynical bastard of a US soccer fan I'd give Coach Yallop a pat on the back and a hearty, "congrats, Frank, on ditching that turkey of an organization and distancing yourself from Big Red, The Butcher of Franchises." Will the Gals be weary from their past month's worth of heavy lifting? We'll see if they can close the deal this week with a Thursday Night Futbol visit from a Red Bulls side looking to gain a little momentum heading into the post-season and the season-closer on Sunday against one of their rivals for the final playoff spots, Chicago. I can't rate them any higher than sixth despite the current run, as it's all been a bit of smoke and mirrors from my vantage point. Can the Beckspiracy continue to hold the league in its mysterious thrall?
7. FC Dallas | DLLWD | Next: SAT-KC
Easing their way into the playoffs after such a promising start to the season. A draw against Chivas is a decent result and they're getting Cooper back to fitness just in time. The problem is that they could use a few decent defenders, rather than another attacking option. The last game of the season brings a desperate Wizards side to Pizza Hut Park on Saturday in what could turn into a goal-fest between two less-than-adequate defensive corps.
8. Red Bull NY | DDDLW | Next: THR@LA
Finally a positive result for the Swampmeisters, though KC will be bitterly disappointed not to take anything from the match. The sooner the Red Bulls get out of that carpeted monstrosity, the better for the entire league (and for Mister Burciaga!) Arena's men will be the first over the finish line on Thursday as they wrap up their season looking to add a second victory on the trot and dash the playoff ambitions of Lalas' Abomination. Though I don't normally back the Bulls in any endeavor, it would be a delicious annual tradition if clubs that Lalas has attempted to ruin keep coming back to bite him in his Big Red Ass at whatever club he's currently trying to drive into the field turf.
9. (+2) Colorado Rapids | DLLWW | Next: SAT-RSL
Hope is still alive in Clavijo-land as the Rapids gut out a win after going a man down, managing to score two goals--one in the dying moments--to keep the playoff dream alive. This being Clavijo's side, you know they'll fail at the final hurdle. Having done all the hard work to scrap their way back into contention, you just know that they'll pull a stinker and get thrashed by lowly RSL, right? I'm hoping against hope that they manage to sneak in just behind LA, thus setting up the best possible opening round match for DC United.
10. (-1) Kansas City Wizards | WLLDL | Next: SAT@Dallas
From seeming like a lock for the playoffs to another late season implosion, the Wiz are in serious trouble. They had their chances, but EJ just can't match Angel's cool from the spot. Last on the docket is a make-or-break visit to FC Dallas as the Wiz struggle to cling to their fragile post-season dreams.
11. (+1) Columbus Crew | LWLLW | Next: SAT@United
A fantastic comeback as Schelotto shows his quality, killing off the Revs late, but it's all too little, too late for Sigi's men as they're the first of the five sides fighting for those last two spots to drop out of the playoff race. They'll be playing for pride and little else this weekend against the regular season champs, DC United.
12. (-2) Real Salt Lake | DWDLL | Next: SAT@Rapids
Rimando gets caught napping as RSL come up short against the Dynamo. They'll close the season with the Rocky Mountain Derby, visiting a Rapids side that still entertain faint hopes of sneaking into the playoffs.
13. Toronto FC | LLWLL | Next: SAT-Revs
Beckspiracy! I call Beckspiracy! I know that LA are still in the playoff hunt and TFC are done, but Edu gets the US call-up and jaunts off to Euro-Disney while Donovan stays behind to slice open his side? Twellers and El Guzano got called in after their weekend contributions to their MLS sides. Beckspiracy! Can't you smell the stench of it wafting in off the hazy California coastline? The Canucks will look to put the stink behind them as they close out the season in the friendly confines of BMO Field against a Revs side that have gone off the boil as of late.