MLS Table Talk - The Broken Record Dirge
After a few weeks where it looked like the West had successfully scaled the table and broken up the East's dominance, this week's edition confirms that things are back to normal in Tabletown. And that's to the severe detriment of the Red Bulls. Despite sitting 7th overall, they also happen to be 6th in the East. Owing to MLS's continued insistence on the conference structure, that means that RSL and the Dynamo, occupying the 2nd and 3rd spots in the West, are playoff teams, despite trailing the Red Bulls in the combined table. As usual, the table is an almighty mess anyway, with just six points separating 11 of the 14 teams. Strangely, despite the congestion, there wasn't too terribly much in the way of mobility this week.
So let's open the kimono and take a look at the points per game table. The Revs (1.88)and Crew (1.86) are neck and neck at the top, followed by a five team pack consisting of the Fire (1.54), TFC (1.5), LA (1.5), United (1.47), and the Red Bulls (1.43). The middling-tier playoff fighters follow in the form of Chivas (1.29), RSL (1.27), Houston (1.27), and, surprisingly, KC (1.23). Trailing in their wake are the Rapids (1.14) and Dallas (1.13), and the unfortunate Quakes in their usual rock-bottom, sub point-per-game, position (0.86).
Despite their terrible run of form, Chicago continue to hold a significant lead in goal differential, with their +9 a stark contrast to the -10 of the Quakes, a team they only managed a goalless draw with this weekend.
Offensively, it's still the Galaxy who provide the most bang per game, with 2.29 goals scored. The only team that's anywhere close continues to be United, whose four against those self-same Gals this weekend boosts them to a 1.87 average. On the dark side of this particular moon are the Quakes, reigning in supreme futility at 0.71 goals per game, while KC's sputtering offense is chugging along to the "I think I can!" tune of a 0.85 average.
On the defensive side, the Fire's goalless draw drops them to a league-best 0.85 goals against average, with the closest challengers being the league leaders, New England, at 1.13, and shockingly, the whipping boys of the East, KC, weighing in at a 1.23 average. The broken record dirge continues with the super-sieves of MLS. LA's shipping of four this weekend puts them exactly at the 2.0 mark, while DC's season-long avoidance of shutouts keeps them at 1.73 conceded per game.
So that's the tale of the table this week. Who would have suspected a month ago that the Fire would be a mid-table side and that DC United would be making an unlikely charge at the leaders? Can the West somehow reverse the embarrassing trend that sees only one of their sides place above the second-to-last side in the East? How much havoc will SuperLiga play with the table over the next month? Thoughts from the Peanut Gallery? Share them in the comments below.