MLS Table Talk - Landon Beckham's Flying Circus
What the hell? Just a few short weeks ago we were looking at the East potentially having six playoff sides to the West's two (if MLS rules would have allowed such a thing to happen). Then Chivas made a run and the field tilted towards a 5/3 split in favor of the East (which is allowed, of course). Now we're even at 4/4, and it's looking increasingly likely that we may end up with 5 sides from the West and only 3 from the East. Who's going to stop that rot? DC's goose is cooked. KC were starting to heat up, but they've since stalled. And Metro Playoff Failure seems to be striking a little early this season. Maybe TFC can carry the standard?
Whatever the case, the Crew are just about done and dusted at the top, with only Houston still able to potentially reel them in--an event that just isn't likely to happen. The trailing pack behind the Crew has suddenly swelled to four as Chivas join the party, crouching just three points back of Chicago and four behind Houston and the Revs. After that, it's a crap shoot. The next six sides are separated by just two points, while TFC are only 3 points off the pace, the Quakes are 4 back (but have a game in hand), and only Landon Beckham's Flying Circus seems completely out of it, languishing 5 points out of the playoff spots.
Goal differential is finally starting to look like it means something. Of the top four, three are +9 or better, with the Crew's +15 setting the bar highest. Only the Revs look out of place at +1. And the bottom five are all -5 or worse, with DC and TFC leading the way at -8. There are still a couple of anomalies though. New York is currently 6th in the league, but has a -5 differential, while Dallas don't hold a playoff spot, but do boast a +6 differential.
The Crew narrowed the goal-scoring gap courtesy of their victory over LA, but not by much. The Galaxy's 1.85 still leads the way offensively. Of course, they lead the way defensively as well at 2.04 goals against per game. DC seemed to have left the land of soiled mattresses behind, but 3 goals from Chivas put them back into the "Easily Scored Upon" category at 1.81.
San Jose's mini-drought sees them still with their heads above the goal-per-game water but back in last place as well at 1.04, narrowly trailing TFC (1.07) and KC (1.11). So that's who can't put them in the net. Who's keeping them out? It's still the Fire for the win at 0.96, but they're creeping ever closer to that goal-per-game mark, while it becomes patently obvious that winning teams play good defense--witness the conference leaders, Columbus and Houston, knotted for second at 1.15.
So, anything else strike your fancy in the land of numerology and statistical alchemy? I'm still struggling to wrap my head around Dallas' +6 goal differential. Also, now that I've pretty much given up hope that United will somehow fashion a recovery, that race for the final playoff spots is going to loads of fun. What do you think? Any predictions?