MLS Table Talk (Week 27) - Questions Remain
The two big questions remaining in the MLS regular season have yet to be decided, but we're getting closer to a day of reckoning. The Revs and Dynamo can still harbor faint ambitions for the Eastern and Western Conference crowns, but both would need some major results-voodoo to catch Chivas and DC United as the top two gun it out for the Supporters' Shield. Chivas are three points back but have a game in hand on United. Unfortunately for Preki & Co., United hold all the cards in the head-to-head if they end the season level on points.
At the other end of the playoff picture, the Galaxy are keeping the glimmer of hope alive by continuing to win. They pretty much need to win out in their remaining three games if they have any hopes of garnering a post-season spot. Chicago have solidified their position, and indeed are even closing in on passing KC and possibly even the Red Bulls if both of those sides continue their late season skids. The Crew and Rapids have now slipped behind LA in contention for the final spots as LA are just one and two points back of those sides with a game in hand.
Now that nearly all of the teams have played the same number of games, the points-per-game table has finally come into alignment with the actual table, with the tiers laid out for all to see. Offensively, DC continues to shine at nearly two goals per game, far and away the best onion-bag bulgers in MLS. In direct opposition are TFC, whose two goal outing against the Red Bulls still couldn't bump their woeful 0.79 goals per game much. In terms of keeping them out, Houston are still head of the pack, though their lead on Chivas has faded a bit. Even with the recent run of results they've been having, LA continue to be the worst defensive side in the league, surrendering at a 1.67 per game clip.
Besides TFC and RSL, it's still all to play for in the last couple of weeks of the MLS regular season. The top four will look to maintain form, stay healthy, and position themselves for deep runs in the post-season. Dallas and New York will try to consolidate their positions and hope that first round upsets throw them the semifinal home-field bone, while KC and Chicago fight to both improve their current position and keep the wolves at bay behind them. It's looking increasingly like the Rapids, Crew, and Galaxy will be left out in the cold, but if they can win their remaining games and results fall favorably, the playoffs are still a possibility. Stay tuned for tomorrow's Dogpile when we look at who is shaping up to make a run at the Cup.