Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
As we head into the final week of the 2013 Major League Soccer season, there are still four places in the playoffs and a Supporters Shield title up for grabs.
The Eastern Conference has the tightest playoff race with the Montreal Impact, Chicago Fire, New England Revolution, Houston Dynamo, and Philadelphia Union still fighting for a chance to make the post season. Interestingly enough, four of the five teams from third place to seventh place play on the road, making their challenges that much difficult. Only the Union play at home, though they will need to win and have other results go in their favor to extend their season into November.
For the first time in the league’s 18-year history, the Supporters Shield title could be heading to Red Bull Arena as the New York Red Bulls need just a win to clinch their first piece of major silverware. Sporting Kansas City, the Portland Timbers, and Real Salt Lake are all snapping at the Red Bulls heels if they falter in their season finale.
Here’s a closer look at MLS Week 36’s Supporters Shield and playoffs scenarios:
SUPPORTERS SHIELD SCENARIOS
NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls can win the Supporters Shield in one of three ways:
- a win vs. Chicago Fire on Sunday.
- a tie vs. Chicago Fire AND a Sporting Kansas City loss/tie vs. Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
- a loss vs. Chicago Fire AND Sporting KC loss vs. Union AND Portland Timbers loss/tie vs. Chivas USA on Saturday AND Real Salt Lake loss/tie vs. Chivas USA on Wednesday.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City can win the Supporters Shield with:
- a win vs. Philadelphia Union on Saturday AND a New York Red Bulls loss/tie vs. Chicago Fire on Sunday.
The Portland Timbers can win the Supporters Shield with:
- a win vs. Chivas USA on Saturday AND a Sporting Kansas City loss/tie vs. Philadelphia Union on Saturday AND a New York Red Bulls loss vs. Chicago Fire on Sunday.
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake can win the Supporters Shield with:
- a win vs. Chivas USA on Wednesday AND a Sporting Kansas City tie/loss vs. Philadelphia Union with Sporting KC not scoring eight goals more than RSL AND a New York Red Bulls loss vs. Chicago Fire with Red Bulls not scoring three more goals than RSL AND a Portland Timbers tie/loss vs. Chivas USA.
The New York Red Bulls, Sporting Kansas City, Real Salt Lake, Portland Timbers, Los Angeles Galaxy, and Seattle Sounders have all qualified for the post-season, while D.C. United, Chivas USA, Toronto FC, FC Dallas, Columbus Crew, and the Vancouver Whitecaps have all been eliminated.
Here’s the scenarios for the remaining seven teams:
The Montreal Impact can make the playoffs with:
- a win vs. Toronto FC on Saturday.
- a New England Revolution tie/loss vs. Columbus Crew on Sunday.
- a Houston Dynamo tie/loss vs. D.C. United on Sunday.
- an Impact tie vs. Toronto FC AND a Chicago Fire loss vs. New York Red Bulls OR a Chicago Fire tie vs. New York Red Bulls with the Fire scoring five less goals than the Impact.
- an Impact loss vs. Toronto FC AND Chicago Fire score five goals less than the Impact in a loss vs. New York Red Bulls.
The Chicago Fire can make the playoffs with:
- a win vs. New York Red Bulls on Sunday.
- a New England Revolution tie/loss vs. Columbus Crew on Sunday.
- a Houston Dynamo tie/loss vs. D.C. United on Sunday.
- a Fire tie vs. New York Red Bulls and either a Montreal Impact loss vs. Toronto FC on Saturday or the Fire score five more goals than the Impact if they tie Toronto FC.
- a Fire loss vs. New York Red Bulls but they score five more goals than the Impact if Impact lose to Toronto FC.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution can make the playoffs with:
- a win vs. Columbus Crew on Sunday AND a Montreal Impact tie/loss vs. Toronto FC OR a Chicago Fire tie/loss vs. New York Red Bulls OR a Houston Dynamo tie/loss vs. D.C. United OR Houston Dynamo score less than eight goals in win vs. D.C. United
- a tie vs. Columbus Crew on Sunday AND a Houston Dynamo loss vs. D.C. United OR the Dynamo score less than ten goals in tie vs. D.C. United OR a Philadelphia Union loss vs. Sporting Kansas City OR the Union score less than eight goals than the Revolution in win vs. Sporting Kansas City
- a loss vs. Columbus Crew on Sunday AND a Houston Dynamo loss vs. D.C. United and they score ten less goals than the Revolution AND a Philadelphia Union tie/loss vs. Sporting Kansas City.
The Houston Dynamo can make the playoffs with:
- a win vs. D.C. United on Sunday AND a Montreal Impact tie/loss vs. Toronto FC OR a Chicago Fire tie/loss vs. New York Red Bulls OR a New England Revolution tie/loss vs. Columbus Crew OR the Dynamo score ten more goals than the Revolution.
- a tie vs. D.C. United on Sunday AND a New England Revolution loss vs. Columbus Crew or Dynamo score ten more goals than the Revolution if they tie vs. Crew AND a Philadelphia Union tie/loss vs. Sporting Kansas City or Dynamo score two more goals than the Union if Union win vs. Sporting Kansas City.
- a loss vs. D.C. United on Sunday AND the Dynamo score ten more goals than the Revolution in a Revolution loss vs. Columbus Crew AND a Philadelphia Union tie/loss vs. Sporting Kansas City.
The Philadelphia Union can make the playoffs with:
- a win vs. Sporting Kansas City on Saturday AND a New England Revolution loss vs. Columbus Crew AND a Houston Dynamo loss vs. D.C. United.
The Colorado Rapids can make the playoffs with:
- a win/tie vs. Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday.
- a San Jose Earthquakes tie/loss vs. FC Dallas on Saturday.
- a loss vs. Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday AND Earthquakes do not score 13 more goals than the Rapids in win vs. FC Dallas.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes can make the playoffs with:
- a win vs. FC Dallas on Saturday AND a Colorado Rapids loss vs. Vancouver Whitecaps AND the Earthquakes score 13 more goals than the Rapids.
What do you think of these scenarios? Which do you see most likely to play out? Who do you see making the playoffs in the Eastern Conference? Do you see the Red Bulls lifting the Supporters Shield?
Share your thoughts below.
Contest: What is the best T-Shirt slogan ripping on the Earthquakes “Goonies Never Say Die” mantra?
It is still possible for any of the top 5 seeds in the West to finish first in the Conference.
Yes if Colorado or Seattle win and everybody else loses either of them could tie PTFC on points. Portland loses the tie breaker against everybody since they got so many draws. Even though everybody could potentially pass Portland, Portland is guaranteed at least fourth place no matter what. Since Seattle is playing Los Angeles only one of them could pass Portland but not both.
Why does the Supporter’s shield matter? It doesn’t mean anything. Woohoo, you won the most games but did you win the championship? No? Ok, well then who cares.
Well first of all it doesn’t mean you won the most games. Also, you qualify for the champions league so, yeah it does mean something.
You must be new to the sport. Welcome. Glad you like soccer.
I have been around soccer for over 40 years. I don’t care about the Supporters Shield either….except for the home field advantage.
Is that long enough ?…or am I still new ?
People are free to care about what they want to care about, but to claim that it doesn’t mean anything is silly, and to act incredulous at the possibility that others might care does suggest perhaps a lack of familiarity with the way the sport usually works. To finish on top after the whole regular season means something, even if the meaning is lessened by the unbalanced schedule, engineered parity (which enhances the role of luck vs. quality), and the emphasis on the playoffs. At the very least it means CCL, home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and something for the trophy case.
I would contend that the newer guys to soccer care more about single table and other Euro-bred insecurities. Would you disagree ?
For those of us that grew up as American soccer did there was always playoffs. There was no internet and massive cable packages, so we could be awestruck by the big leagues and insecure enough to care what they are doing. We had a blast when the Sounders scored in sudden death overtime in the semis and want that again.
It’s not about “euro-bred insecurities,” it’s about rewarding the team that played the best over the long haul rather than the team that played the best for a few weeks in the playoffs. The Supporters Shield gives us a chance to do both, although reverting back to the unbalanced schedule maybe takes a little luster off the SS.
As for the rest of your post, congrats on being old. We’re all impressed.
Just didn’t like how JRP attacked the other guy with dumb logic.
Don’t give one bit if I impress anyone……even if you were speaking out of turn for everyone else.
The SS holds true to the history of the sport at a club level.
I didn’t attack him.
Just noticed you are a Sounders fan.
Perspective is an interesting thing.
Open Cup? What are your feelings there. If you think the Open Cup is meaningless, I agree.
Wow, Donk is such a Eurosnob. I bet he bathes himself in Carlsberg while eating a meat pie.
Seattle is going to win it.
I mean the Shield race is over, Seattle has all those games in hand. Their PPG is soooo much better than the rest of the league!
Sorry, I’ve been cryogenically frozen the past three weeks and now UK intelligence has just woke me up.
It being the Choke of the Year award.
C’mon Fire and SKC.
Will we someday think about final standings in terms of CCL spots?
Plain and simple answer. No.
IF anything it will go the other way and no CCL spot will be awarded.
How will they be awarded? Attendance?
A lot of us already do if I understand your question correctly.
We got this win and Shield, but I will be watching the Philly match hoping that they take care of business and some how make it into the playoffs. Would be epic to travel to Philly should they make the Semis.
Look, just cause you’re looking for an easy first round…
It took LA four years to buy the cup with Beckham. Isn’t this the fourth year for NYRB and their high-dollar contracts? Or is it three? So…does that mean Seattle may just pull it off in 2016.
You can’t “buy the cup” with one or two players. The history of DPs provides more evidence against than for this notion.
I don’t think the Revs scenario is correct. Based on the current standings, all the Revs need to do is win on Sunday and they are in (unless Houston scores 9+goals). It is not dependent on any other results. Or am I misunderstanding the scenarios?
I thought the same thing, what they wrote is misleading.
Lead off with this: The Revolution are in with a win. UNLESS the Dynamo score more than 10 goals. (Which will definitely not happen.)
The scenario here, while technically correct is confusing and unnecessary, so maybe keep it but lead off with the sentence I wrote.
My favorite scenario would be the one that get Houston in based on “the Dynamo score ten more goals than the Revolution.”
Brian Ching is going to walk out of the stands, tear off his suit to reveal a Dynamo jersey beneath it and score the 11th goal in the 93rd minute to assure an 11-11 tie.
Piece of cake.
I think SJEQs have enough clout to score 13.
It will all happen in the last 5 min of stoppage time. Oh wait, this isn’t 2012…..
Would it be really cool if mls had all these games played at the same time and date to add to the drama? Seems like a great marketing opportunity.
Well there are an odd number of teams, so for now that is not possible. For instance Portland and RSL both play Chivas for their last game and Chivas has a hard enough time playing one team at a time.
WIth NBCSN breakeaway. That would be epic!!!
They will get there someday. It almost has to go that way, because of the advantage of playing last and knowing what you need to get a better seed ( or make the playoffs )
Talk about scoreboard watching. Every team tied at 52 points and playing each other. Win you have homefield for the whole playoffs, tie and you make it, lose and you are out.
Agreed, would be epic. Unfortunately tv contracts prevent this (has to be friday night game, espn game, nbcsn game, etc…) and the networks all can’t agree to have them at the same time.
The supporter’s shield still doesn’t qualify as a trophy, right?
it does and it give the team CCL games next year.
It absolutely does. I’d still put it 3rd in importance among domestic trophies (2nd if the schedule was balanced), but it sure as hell counts.
Already trying to downplay our success even before we win it. Sounda about right.
What does RBNY stand for ?
I think RBNY can also win the Shield despite a loss to Chicago, under an additional scenario: loss/tie by Portland and SKC, and a low-scoring win by RSL. RSL leads RBNY by 2 goals scored, so if RBNY loses but outscores RSL by three (say, a 5-4 loss plus a 1-0 win by RSL), I think RBNY still finishes on top.
My head hurts.
Forget about Portland or RSL winning the shield, it’s gonna be RBNY or SKC.
Also, one of those two are going to win MLS cup. Less quality competition in the east
I like Portland against either one of those two. Admittedly biased, PTFC fan and season ticket holder here.
Less competition means less a chance of preparing. Portland – while they have drawn a lot – has played a gauntlet over the last 6 weeks. RSL is the only team that worries me, even though we shot ourselves in the foot in two matches, they are our the elephant in the room at Jeld Wen.
Plus, regular season opener, should been 3-1 if Mikael Silvestre wasn’t imagining himself in Aruba as he played his first game in a long while without any preseason. Ugh, ifs and buts and all of that but if we don’t give up that trip of a goal to Espindola Portland is easily winning the Supporters Shield. Course, could say that about one of the other 14 draws haha.
Should be a blast, nice to not be watching from the outside for once.
Yeah, well, if RB didn’t do a bunch of other stuff to drop points along the way they’d be running away with the Shield, so the if game doesn’t really lead you anywhere. Portland isn’t the only team in the league to have dropped points on silly mistakes.
oh dear god, can I just think about this NEXT week?
Bye bye San Jose. VAMOS RED BULLS!!!
So unless SKC wins a draw will be enough for RBNY on Sunday?
You have got it all wrong. 10 Million dollars was enough for NYRB to win the SS.
Sounds like a bargain to me!