Monday Morning Free Kicks – Either You’re In or You’re Out

Monday Morning Free Kicks – Either You’re In or You’re Out

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On October 8, 2007

Pretty much a goal filled weekend in the MLS. One more club punched their ticket to the post season dance, while others are tightening the race for the final couple spots.

I guess it would be wise to start with the action on Sunday first. In doing so I will start with the Houston-LA game. I really felt that this would be a game that Houston would win and knock the Galaxy back into the real world around the league. Not so fast though, LA came out and continued their winning streak to four games with a 2-1 victory over the defending champs.

I am not here to label LA a contender for the MLS Cup right now, but I will say that they are starting to slowly come around as a possibly playoff contender again. Weird to even think that at this point in the season but with games on hand against nearly everyone in the league ahead of them, they have a shot.

So what about Houston? Its far to say that the loss of Ricardo Clark is going to be a tough one on the Dynamo come the playoffs. I think they will be fine in their opening round with Dallas but having to travel to Chivas land in the second round won’t be easy without having a guy like Clark in the defensive side of things. LA didn’t look great against Houston yesterday but they were able to come away with a win and the three points.

Its also far to say that Houston is completely out of the race for the Supporter’s Shield now.

Speaking of the race for the league’s top club. I thought of a few things after this weekend about each club that is actually contending for it. I think now it is merely a two club race:

  • DC – still the absolute front-runner for this title. Sure Chivas is close with a game in hand, but DC looks to be the better side when it is all said and done here.
  • Chivas – Still has a shot at this with the win over Real. The game in hand will be huge in the coming week, but they have to take advantage of it.
  • New England – I think it is also far to say that the Revs are out of this contention just like the Dynamo.

Looking at the current playoff standings, things are pretty close at the top part and at the bottom part. Aside from the two clubs that play in the Home Depot Center, everyone has two games remaining. Six points that is left for each club, or nine in the case of LA and Chivas. Not a lot with a couple playoff spots still up for grabs. Here is some thoughts on each club that is close to making the playoffs, I may go in a little more deeper later on today or tomorrow but this will do for now:

  • Dallas – finally clinched their spot in the playoffs with a convincing win over the Crew, two home games remaining against Chivas and Kansas City…probably four points out there but maybe no less than two
  • New York – failed to clinch in the prime-time game against Toronto. Still a win-able schedule but the game with LA at the end of their season doesn’t look so easy anymore. Can make things easier with a win over the Wizards this week.
  • Kansas City – got a draw out of the DC game but that really could end up being enough. Two tough road games left though in New York and Dallas. Could still fall completely out of the race before it is all said and done.
  • Chicago – now a point out of seventh place with the win over New England…still a tough draw with a trip to DC and then a season finale with LA…I still think two points will be more than enough
  • Colorado – the win over Toronto moves the Rapids back into 9th place with two games left. Four points out of the playoffs with games against Chivas on the road (loss) and at home against Real (should be a win). Needs to get points against Chivas to stay alive with a hope of moving on but realistically they need six points
  • Columbus – the loss to Dallas pretty much ended their dreams of a post season. Two remaining games with New England and DC on the road. Need to win both to even have a pray of a post season
  • LA – three games left and a lot to play for. The win over Houston was huge and with two home games left coming up against clubs with horrible road records, the finale in Chicago could determine a whole lot

Still a lot to play for in this season for some clubs. Five clubs are in with three spots left. Who will be there for the taking? Right now my money is on New York, Chicago and crazy as it sounds LA. But realistically it will come down to New York, Chicago and KC…finishing in that order.

Your thoughts on the final weeks ahead here? Who’s gonna make it and who will crash and burn?

Update: MLSnet is reporting that the Red Bulls were able to clinch a spot over the weekend with Columbus losing. Still two spots up for grabs here.