- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On May 26, 2009
- 2 Comments
- Playoff Push 2009, Standings
So after ten weeks we usually know where things stand in a season. I know the first third of the season usually doesn’t always dicate how the final two-thirds will be but it is a good starting point. Most clubs have seen ten games so far, with a couple at nine and a couple more at 11.
One thing is certain as we move forward in this league, the draw is keeping everything tight as can be. But the more we move the more I see this league shaping up into three groups of clubs: some true contenders, a mixed-bag of clubs and a final group that probably has already played its way out of contention before June hits.
Now I know I am not always right about each club and will be first to tell you that but I have seen plenty out of each club to really tell you what I feel with each. Some look more dangerous than others while some just look hopeless already here.
Seeing is how this season is pairty-filled we have to think that it will continue to be so for the most part. Right now we’ve had more draws than it seems like we ever have with 62 of 150 matches so far (41 percent) finishing in draws. Clubs are going to find themselves in a dog fight come September and October if they keep this up. A lot of factors have been the reason for it like the high number of red cards issued but a lot does have to do with play on the field.
Summer can certainly change a lot of this below (as will SuperLiga, USOC, and CCL games) but just as mention I do see three groups. I honestly feel very confident that we can already see clubs that will be in the playoffs this year. I think right now the magic mark for getting to the playoffs as the eighth and final spot will be 39 or 40 points. Though that number could get lower with more draws.
The True Contenders:
I call this group the true contenders because right now I honestly see these six clubs as playoff contending clubs. This doesn’t mean MLS Cup contenders just yet though there are a couple good ones in here that have a legit shot at the big dance in November. Who are these clubs? Right now to me I see Chivas, Seattle, Houston, Chicago, DC and Toronto as the six true contenders right now.
Only recently would I put Houston and Toronto in this mix. Houston has played great over the last month and a half and Toronto has really started to impress me with their form as of late. A lot of it has to do with the play of Amado Guevara and Dwayne De Rosario. I look for Toronto to stay in the mix for the playoffs this year due to those two and a big summer move for a striker. Houston on the other hand is just the steady hand that we have come to know out of them.
The other four in this group have been fairly consistent this season. Chivas has jumped out to a big lead in the standings already and though they may be cooling off they have a friendly schedule with SuperLiga this summer instead of games like in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Right now I honestly feel better about picking clubs not in the CCL and club in SuperLiga. Mainly due to SuperLiga taking up less time in the summer for those four clubs (Chivas, NE, KC, and Chicago).
I look at DC and Seattle right now and though they have question marks still they have each proved a lot through ten or 11 games to me so far. I do worry about DC and their depth come later this year when they deal with CCL games. Seattle is an interesting pick right now because they only have a possible USOC tournament to worry about this summer. If they fail to beat Colorado tonight they should have the time to get healthy this summer to make a solid run this fall. Chicago on the other hand is still the lone undefeated squad and still have so much depth that really makes me feel good about their chances this season.
The Middle Six
This group could really go either way but right now I see them battling out for those final two playoff spots. Each are good enough but have some question marks surrounding them that I worry about here. Who are these six? Kansas City, New England, LA, Columbus, Real Salt Lake and Colorado.
Again each are good enough to be up with the top six right now. KC has looked equally as good as they have bad this season. LA if they can get soms wins instead of draws could be dangerous, Columbus is slowly breaking out of their slow start, RSL has the potential to be really good but haven’t seen the results away from Rio Tinto yet, Colorado has loads of dangerous young players but sometimes lacks consistentcy, and New England has talent but lacks some serious punch up top.
Of all the clubs I would say LA and New England have the biggest potential to drop out of this group into the next if they aren’t careful. The Revs lack some serious offense and once Landon Donovan leaves this summer for national team duty, I really question whether or not LA can stay with clubs offensively with the talent they have in place right now.
I look at KC, Colorado and RSL and really wonder about each of them. All have loads of young talent mixed with quality veterans but each lack some consistent play to make me want to move them up the charts here. KC and Colorado especially lack the consistent punch, at least with RSL we do know they play well at home and realitvely poor on the road. The road play is easily keeping RSL from moving anywhere from this group.
Right now if I had to pick two clubs to move up by the end of the year it would be Colorado and Columbus. I do see the Crew being in the thick of things later on this season and Colorado just has something about them that I do like this season. I’d say most of it centers around Conor Casey.
The Bottom of the Barrel
Yes the bottom of hte barrel here is New York, Dallas and San Jose. Though New York does have potenial to move up later on I do think they’ve done a number at themselves through 11 games so far. Their chances are still decent to contend for a playoff spot but with such a tight race right now they haven’t done themselves any favors with how they continue to play here.
Dallas and San Jose on the other hand are a true mess right now. Each have looked good for about a half of play this season. In all honesty it would take a whole lot to even consider moving either one of these groups up into the next group.