MLS Table Talk | The Fixity of Futility

You always knew that when the likes of the Sounders and Chivas sat atop the league that there would come a Great Sorting Out, wherein the cream would rise and the dregs would drift down. Ladies and Gentlemen, that future is now! Columbus and Houston, the class of the East and West respectively sit atop the heap, with the Fire between them and the scrum of inseparable playoff scrappers. That crew is led by the Sounders and Galaxy but also encompasses the three-headed Monsters of Underachievement--TFC, Colorado, and Chivas, with DC United and RSL tacked on for good measure. The Revs, despite being three points back of RSL and six points out of playoff contention should also get a "playoff contender" pass by virtue of their games in hand. Dallas and KC just about have an outside shot of still sneaking in, though neither appears likely to do so, and the Quakes and Bulls are dead and buried.
  • Points per game makes the delineations sharper but also throws up some interesting anomalies. The Crew are top at 1.8 points per game, while the Dynamo and Fire trail at 1.7. Any guesses on #4? It's 8th placed Chivas at 1.6, while the Western trio of LA, Seattle, and Colorado sit on 1.5. TFC holds the final playoff spot at 1.4, with DC, RSL, and the Revs just behind on 1.3. Dallas and the Wiz are hanging out on 1.1, while the Quakes sit at 0.9, and the Bulls can boast an unbelievably bad 0.5 points per outing.
  • While goal difference is somewhat predictable (The top two lead the way on +10, while the bottom two are there for a reason, as their -13 and -23 marks would suggest), there are bits of strangeness therein. How about #7 Colorado boasting the second-best mark in the league at +8? Or potentially playoff-bound TFC being the only side in the top 10 with a negative goal difference? And the Revs potential playoff challenge may come a bit into question when you look at their -4 mark.
  • Nobody has a commanding lead when it comes to scoring goals, with DC and the Rapids leading the way on 1.6 goals per game, while the Bulls, predictably, are a shambles at 0.7 gpg. The real shocker is what a mixed bag the league is when it comes to offensive output. For example, the second-to-last Quakes are on 1.3 gpg, the same mark posted by the co-leaders in Houston. And those league-leading offensive juggernauts in Colorado and DC? 7th and 9th respectively.
  • Defensively, things take on a more predictable shape. The Dynamo are the only side not surrendering at least a goal per game (0.9 allowed per game), while the Bulls and Quakes are setting the pace for most allowed on 1.8 and 1.9 apg respectively. The divisions between playoff and non-playoff sides come into stark contrast with most of the playoff sides hovering around a goal per game allowed, while the non-playoff sides are generally around a goal and a half per game allowed. But even then, there are exceptions, notably TFC, a playoff side allowing at a rate of 1.5, and RSL, a non-playoff side surrendering only 1.1 apg.
  • The only other big trend to take from the table is the apparently fixed nature of the cellar dwellers. Check out the +/- column. All of the top nine, save the Fire, changed their league position from last week to this. The bottom six sides? No movement whatsoever.

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