Down the stretch they come, and it looks like the Shield may not be firmly in the Crew's grasp just yet. At the other end of the playoff dustup, a sliver of daylight has appeared between the currently qualified and the soon-to-be-eliminated, but MLS is a crazy old league, and methinks the Parity Police will be cracking a few skulls before this whole things winds to a close, n'est pas? So what's the state of the single table?
It's a four-horse race for the Supporters' Shield. "Four?" I hear you say. Well, the Crew (46 pts) are still favorites with a game in hand and a two-point edge, but the Galaxy and Dynamo are waiting to pounce on 44 pts, with Preki's Lazerean Chivas closing fast. True, they currently sit three points back of the Gals and Dynamo, but they do have two games in hand on that pair.
In the land of the moderately comfortable we have the Sounders (41 pts), Fire (41 pts), and Rapids (40 pts). They're not threats for the Shield, but they hold at least a three point edge on the pack scrambling for playoff spots. The Revs (38 pts) are not so lucky, though they do have a game in hand on the only team within three points of them, the amazing self-destructing DC United (36 pts).
So who's keeping hope alive? TFC (35 pts) and RSL (34 pts) still have a shot if (and it's a big if) they can win out and get some help from those above them. FC Dallas (33 pts) and the Wizards (32 pts) need a miracle, while the Quakes (28 pts) and Red Bulls (18 pts) have long been making vacation plans.
- At this point, the points per game table is pretty much perfectly aligned with the actual points table. The Crew (1.7 ppg) have a slight lead on the two LA sides and Houston (1.6 ppg). The Sounders and Fire (1.5 ppg) are solid post-season bets, with the Rapids and Revs (1.4 ppg) currently looking likely to follow them. The acronym soup of DC, TFC, and RSL sit on 1.3 ppg, while FCD and KC are closing fast at 1.2 ppg. The Quakes have mounted a charge to respectability on 1.1 ppg, and the Bulls make supporters of every other team feel good when they look at that miserable 0.6 ppg mark.
- The goal-scoring lead is firmly in the hands of 'Ham and the Hoops (doesn't quite have the same ring as "Coop and the Hoops, does it?), who are banging in 1.7 goals per game, more than double that of the goal-starved Bulls on 0.8 gpg. When it comes to keeping them out, your new league-leaders are the Sounders on 0.9 goals allowed per game, while the Quakes' 1.7 apg shows why they've been haunting the wrong end of the table for so much of the year.
- Crew (E1) v. Rapids (W5)
- Fire (E2) v. Revs (E3)
- Galaxy (W1) v. Sounders (W4)
- Dynamo (W2) v. Chivas (W3)