- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On April 28, 2008
- 8 Comments
Okay. Time to dig a little deeper here now that we are a month into the season. One thing we know for certain (as if we didn’t think it coming into the season), the east is damn good as a whole. Six of the seven clubs are above .500% and the one that isn’t is bordering that sea level mark. Only two clubs in the west are at or above sea level.
Four clubs east of the Mississippi already have at least 10 points, with Columbus (4-1-0, 12 points) setting the pace and Chicago (3-1-1, 10 points), New England (3-2-1) and Kansas City (3-2-1) in a three-way tie, with Toronto (3-2-0, 9 points) a further point back.
Edit: Yeah my geography isn’t what it use to be, I know KC isn’t east of the Mississippi, but when I wrote it my brain let out a huge fart and I forgot…sorry all of you KC people and thanks to M for reminding me!
Looking back at the winter transfer season, clubs in the east made the most moves and are getting the most out of it. Toronto is a great example of that right now. They made a slew of moves after two weeks into the season and that immediately propelled them near the top of the standings. Most western clubs made moves but none are making nearly the impact that we are seeing in the east.
Usually things aren’t this way in Major League Soccer. Typically one conference doesn’t beat up the other this badly at any point in the season but right now the east is clearly dominating the west. Not just in the standings but in the games between the two already. In 16 interconference games, eastern teams are 11-3-2 against their western conference foes. The only thing you can say against that is that 10 of those games were in eastern stadiums.
I bring this all up because if this trend continues in the next 82 interconference games this season, you can bet that there will be some unhappy eastern sides come playoff time now that the league has revamped the playoff auto-qualifiers from each conference to three from last year’s two. The east got five playoff teams last year in that system and now will have to battle it out more so for those extra two spots this season.
Not to say that they can’t get five again but if you look at how teams are stacking up against one another so far it isn’t too hard to think that the east could possibly get more than five. Right now the best club in the west (FC Dallas) would be sixth in the east. That’s just how much space is between the two conferences.
Now I know, its a month into the season and there is a lot of games left (175 games left to be exact). Anything can (and probably will) change before October. I think either way things turn out this season, the league can’t be blamed too much for the western sides not being able to catch up to the eastern sides here.
Lots of soccer is still left to be played and I’m sure there are plenty of moves that will shake things up here. But one thing is clear still to me right now, the eastern clubs are clearly out classing the western clubs by a lot so far this season.