MLS Table Talk | The Cowhoopquake Caboose

Ah, MLS table, how much like an accordion you are! For a while there, we had Chivas way ahead and Dallas and the Quakes way behind. But now they're all being sucked back to the middle. Just check out all that movement in the middle while the bookends remain the same.

Chivas are still hanging on with a three point lead over Chicago, who are three points clear of the Dynamo, though the orange ones have two games in hand. Behind those three is an almighty pile-up with the Sounders just one point ahead of a four-team traffic jam rounding out the current playoff sides. The playoff sides have a three point edge on the chasing pack, with four teams separated by just two points sitting just one game (2-3 points) clear of the Cowhoopquake Caboose.

The points per game table is even more interesting. Chivas are still on top (2.0), but their lead is slender over the Fire and Dynamo (1.8 apiece). The Rapids (1.6) and Sounders (1.5) are relatively comfortably slotted in behind them, but then things get messy, with five teams fighting for three playoff spots on 1.2 or 1.3 points. The Galaxy (1.1) and RSL (1.0) trail that group, but hold a slight margin over that very same Cowhoopquake Caboose that ranges from 0.7 to 0.8 points per game.

Other talking points?
  • Goals, goals, goals! Well, what do you know? There's not a single team in MLS that isn't scoring at least a goal per game, though the Revs and Red Bulls are on their tippy toes to measure up. The majority of sides are clustered around the 1.4 goals per game mark, with the Fire (1.7) and...get ready for a shocker...the Rapids (1.6) leading the way.
  • Man the barricades! The Dynamo (0.7) hold a slender lead in the goals allowed per game table over Chivas and the Sounders (0.8). Does that mean that goals are less likely in the West or that defenses are better out there? The fact that those same three sides are scoring at around the league average (1.4) might suggest both, though the Quakes league-worst defensive record (2.0) would argue otherwise.
  • What's the difference? Is anybody surprised in the least that the Galaxy is even on goal difference given that they've drawn 9 of their 11 games? Their HDC-mates, Chivas, continue to lead at +8, with the other Cali club, the Quakes, trying desperately to hide the shame of a -10 tally.
  • Zero no more. With the Fire's loss to Dallas, we no longer have anybody sporting a zero in the win, loss, or draw columns. And it only took us just over a third of the season!
  • Go for broke! Witness TFC and KC, both with four losses, yet sitting in playoff positions, while the Crew and Galaxy sport just two and one loss respectively, yet find themselves on the outside looking in. The culprit? How about 7 draws for the Crew and 9 for the Galaxy? Sure, TFC and KC have more wins as well at four apiece, but might that say something about their approach to the game? You know, that they're not (1) playing for draws (Galaxy) or (2) giving them away like a radio station in high heat (Crew)?
  • Three win line. This week's playoff Maginot Line is three wins. Anything less and you don't qualify for a playoff spot. That said, the Revs and RSL do have three wins, but don't make the cut. The reasons? Well, the Revs have games in hand and actually are level on points per game with the lowest playoff sides. RSL are another story, with their six losses putting them amongst the league leaders in that category and out of the playoff positions as a result.
So that's about it for this week's Table Talk. Any numbers or trends catch your eye? Is there anything up there in the statistical morass that surprises, shocks, or delights you?

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