How the East is Showing Up the West

How the East is Showing Up the West

  • 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.

  • tex

    No arguement here, the East has been superior to the West for several years top to bottom. Of course Houston has been the best team when it matters. I would love for MLS to be a real league that could be respected outside of the US by having a single table with relegation but that would be real futbol and we only play soccer and make the rules up as we go. MLS will lose more and more viewership as the various leagues in Europe are brought into our living rooms and the real game is available. As our best players continue to leave for Europe the stateside interest for their product becomes more familar. Call me a Euro snob but they have a better product.

  • m

    Point of reference, KC is West of the Mississippi.

  • tex

    No arguement here, the East has been superior to the West for several years top to bottom. Of course Houston has been the best team when it matters. I would love for MLS to be a real league that could be respected outside of the US by having a single table with relegation but that would be real futbol and we only play soccer and make the rules up as we go. MLS will lose more and more viewership as the various leagues in Europe are brought into our living rooms and the real game is available. As our best players continue to leave for Europe the stateside interest for their product becomes more familar. Call me a Euro snob but they have a better product.

  • m

    Point of reference, KC is West of the Mississippi.

  • Greg

    Dear Tex: <br />
    <br />
    There are talks about, when the 19th team joins, adopting a single table format. However, how can there be relegation with so few teams? And as for MLS losing viewers because of Europe: FALSE. The quality soccer we see on TV leads more and more people to get excited about MLS, and watch it on TV or go to games. <br />
    <br />
    And yes, you are a Euro snob.

  • Greg

    Dear Tex:

    There are talks about, when the 19th team joins, adopting a single table format. However, how can there be relegation with so few teams? And as for MLS losing viewers because of Europe: FALSE. The quality soccer we see on TV leads more and more people to get excited about MLS, and watch it on TV or go to games.

    And yes, you are a Euro snob.

  • KD

    Tex, at least MLS is INTERESTING. In Europe, the same few teams cycle through as winners. Here, anyone can (and will) win. Here, you actually have an opportunity to be an underdog and still win because you aren't limited to the regular season (unless you flat out suck). BUt you're right, obviously the quality of play in Europe is better. It doesn't make it any more entertaining.

  • KD

    Tex, at least MLS is INTERESTING. In Europe, the same few teams cycle through as winners. Here, anyone can (and will) win. Here, you actually have an opportunity to be an underdog and still win because you aren’t limited to the regular season (unless you flat out suck). BUt you’re right, obviously the quality of play in Europe is better. It doesn’t make it any more entertaining.