MLS Table Talk - The Book of Tiebreakers--Vol 7, Pt 8

Well, well, well . . . not much going on at the top and bottom, but it's all shifting about quite dramatically in the middle. The top four maintain their lead, even if none of them managed a victory this weekend, but it's a real mess behind them, as only three points separate 5th from 12th, and four teams are clustered on 19 points. And, of course, bringing up the rear are the Quakes and Wiz.

Now you may be wondering about DC getting that number 5 spot, and how I managed to come up with that one. Homer bias? No, I assure you, it's merely the byzantine rules of our beloved MLS. Consulting the Book of Tiebreakers, Volume 7, Part 8--when more than one team is level on points, those teams are then placed in their own head-to-head mini-table, with the leader in points taking the proverbial cake. Now given, we're only halfway through the season, and not all of those teams on 19 points have played the same number of games head-to-head. Ah! Fear not, grasshopper! I took the liberty of dividing the points from the mini-table by the number of games counting toward the mini-table and came up with: DC (1.8), Chicago (1.75), RSL (1.33), and NY (0). So that takes care of that mess . . . right?

How about the points-per-game table? Well, the Revs (1), continue to cling to a narrow lead over the Crew (2), while TFC and LA (tied at 3) are a ways back with the Fire (5) nipping at their heels. After another gap, it's the Bulls (6) with their noses in front of DC and RSL (tied at 7), who in turn are just ahead of Chivas (9) and Houston (10). Fading fast are the Rapids (11) and Dallas (12), with KC (13) and the Quakes (14) bringing up the rear.

The goal differential charts show LA (+7) closing on the Fire's eroding lead (+9), while San Jose's last place misery is compounded by their sorry -10. Those Gals sure can find the net, as their league leading 2.38 goals per game continues to tower above the closest challenger, in-form DC United and their 1.71 average. Of course, we'll temper both of those club's enthusiasm by noting that they're also one-two in goals conceded, with LA's 1.85 eclipsing former leaders United, currently at 1.79.

Defensively, Chicago's impressive sub-goal per game average continues to inch perilously closer to the 1.0 bar. This week they're up to 0.92, with league-leading New England almost within shouting distance at 1.13. Perhaps some of the other clubs need to schedule more games against KC and the Quakes, because those two sorry puppies can't even manage a goal per game, at 0.83 and 0.77 respectively.

So that's the tale of the tape this week. There isn't really anything that you could point to as a consistent trend. Great defense wins the league? Tell that to LA and DC, the league's worst when it comes to keeping them out of the net, and yet still closing on the leaders in 4th and 5th respectively. Uh, maybe offense does the trick? So how do you explain the Goats and Rapids sitting in 10th and 11th, despite managing more goals per game than league-leading New England, smart guy? It's enough to make the noggin ache, isn't it?

Thoughts? That's what the comments below are for, Peanut Gallery. Have at it!

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