And we're back with another installment of "Table Talk on Trial," wherein the MLS Table Talk column tries to prove to me that it's not too much work for too little reward and that it has something of value to contribute to the soccer blogosphere at large.
Want to see something freaky? Lop off the Galaxy at the top and United at the bottom and take a look at the rest of the table, points-wise, and tell me what you see...
Eerie, huh? Sure the Sounders-Rapids on 25/24 points and Wiz-Goats on 19/18 break the pattern a bit, but the rest of the league is paired up by points. And those one-point exceptions might as well be pairs of their own. But what we saw that's all too familiar in MLS was much of the playoff pack losing and the trailers getting points (Parity Police strikes back?), leading to the usual massive logjam that seemed to have deserted us somewhat last week.
This week, LA are still all alone up top, despite their loss to the Fire, trailed by the relatively guaranteed playoff-bound Crew and RSL. The scrum for the other five spots is composed of six teams in a four-point spread. That said, the once-detached and spread out chase pack has compressed itself to four teams in a two-point spread that are just a few results out of the race followed by the "not quite dead but getting there" Union and Revs and the "dead and buried" DC United.
Points per game would paint much the same picture, though it would lump Chicago in with the playoff scrum rather than the chase pack and sees the Union slide in to take the vacated spot amongst the chasers. The Win-Loss-Draw columns are fairly predictable with the sole exception of the draw specialists down in Dallas. FC Dallas boast the fewest losses (2), but have managed to draw nearly twice as many matches as the rest of the league (9).
On the goal-scoring charts, LA and RSL, last year's MLS Cup finalists, continue to lead the way, locked on +18 goal differential. RSL's league-best 1.778 goals per game is now matched by a league-best goal tally (32), edging the Galaxy in both categories. But when it comes to keeping them out, the Gals still hold serve at 0.684 goals against per game (13 goals surrendered). That said, their recent inability to keep clean sheets has allowed RSL, Dallas, and the Crew to creep ever closer.
On the wrong side of the goal charts, United hold most of the marks for futility, scoring the least (12 goals, 0.667 per game) while letting in the most (31 goals) and boasting, not surprisingly, the worst goal differential by far (-19). That said, the Union have managed to nip them in goals allowed per game (1.8 against per game).
Anything else in the numbers catch your fancy?