- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On August 6, 2009
- 4 Comments
With most clubs in the nine to ten games left range I felt it was time to look at each side and see what was left on the season’s menu (both in-league play and out). A couple clubs (Chivas and NE) have a few more regular season games left than most but I will still look at what they have.
Some of you may not know but I am a firm believer in how a schedule can either make or break your season. Most clubs have a pretty balanced schedule remaining but others will find theirs a bit tricky and tougher to navigate in order to get into the playoffs this season.
So let’s get down to it:
Chicago Fire (11 games remaining; 6 home and 5 away):
Chicago has a busy month ahead, with the SuperLiga final last night and the upcoming road trip to Houston and KC. But that isn’t the tough part, they only have games against three non-playoff contending sides left (at RSL and home to TFC and at NE). While I think that could all change in a few weeks time I do this club snatching up a load of points to secure a playoff spot by mid-September with four of five matches between August 19-Sept 26. When with spotty home play they should get plenty of points out of those four home games.
Chivas USA (13 games remaining: 6 home and 7 away)
Even with this long layoff they are enjoying right now they come back to four of five games this month on the road. Yikes. Yes one of those is a “road” match against LA but that won’t be easy. Before that they have trips to Colorado, New York and RSL. They need points in all three if they wants to remain in playoff contention here.
September is a light month with only three games, two at home with visiting east coast teams. Three of their last four home games should be wins with visits from New York, Kansas City and San Jose. Lucky for this group they do own one of the easiest schedules remaining, most of that is due to the fact that they haven’t played New York once this season. Two games with them should be six points.
Colorado Rapids: (11 games remaining: 5 home, 6 away):
For a club in playoff contention like the Rapids, grabbing all the points possible at home has to be a must at this point. They do get visits from clubs like San Jose, New England and Toronto but also have conference rivals Houston and Chivas on the way as well. If they can get anywhere between 11 and 15 points out of those five games they should be in good contention to make the playoffs. If not they will have to rely on their road play, which hasn’t been all that great this season. With trips to Chicago, Toronto, Dallas and Salt Lake it will be tough. Thankfully they should be able to get some points in San Jose or KC. Just depends on which Rapids team shows up.
Columbus Crew (16 games, 6 CCL group matches; 5 home and 5 away)
Even with the added games for the CCL the Crew have the same amount of home and road games. Not to shabby if you ask me. And even with the upcoming CCL games the Crew’s next three games in-league play should be nine points with trips to San Jose and New York and a visit from FC Dallas. It would be shocking to see the defending champs drop any of those games.
September is going to be tough with visits from Houston and LA and a trip to Chicago, plus the three CCL games.
October could be interesting for the Crew, depending on if they are already in the playoffs or not by then. Trips to DC and New England could be tough but could also be good at this same time with the heavy load that DC has right now too.
DC United (18 games remaining; 1 friendly, 1 USOC Final, 6 CCL group stage games; 6 home and 4 away):
I mentioned their rough stretch earlier. Adding the six CCL games to the mix really makes it tough for this bunch, even with the amount of home games coming up. If they had failed to reach the CCL group stage this schedule would be total cake if you ask me with those home games. I just worry with the trips to Honduras, Mexico and possibly either Panama or Trididad and Tobago could really wear down this club’s depth.
Oh and they have a US Open Cup Final mixed in there. Rough stretch folks.
FC Dallas (11 games remaining: 5 home and 6 away):
Here’s the story, they are at home for a game then on the road for two. At home and then on the road for two. That’s how their next six games go. Columbus, NY, KC and LA are those four road games. They could get points in any number of those games but I wouldn’t count on it. Home wise they have Houston, DC, RSL and Colorado left. All four of those clubs are looking to get in the playoffs right now. They still have a shot but it’s a very small shot, more than likely they will play spoiler for someone down the road.
Houston Dynamo (16 games remaining; 6 CCL group stage games; 5 home and 5 away):
Houston sits on top of the league standings right now but how long will that last with the amount of games left on the table? This month is pack with games while September they only have two league games to worry about. October isn’t much different with only three league games and one CCL game. If they make it through August safely without any big injuries they should be fine in both the CCL and in league play. We’ll know after this month if they have what it takes to win the Supporter’s Shield this season or not.
Kansas City Wizards (12 games remaining: 6 home and 6 away):
Not a terrible schedule for a team in transition right now. After this weekend’s home match against Chicago things get a little rough with four out of five on the road. That will definitely make or break things for this club with how tight things are in the eastern conference this season. If they can make it out alive after that road trip and still be in contention it will be an amazing thing, I just don’t expect it out of this bunch. Even if they do find themselves in contention their final month of the season see them at Houston and Chivas then hosting DC and Seattle. All four of those games will be against playoff teams.
LA Galaxy (11 games remaining: 6 home and 5 away):
Not a bad schedule at all for this group, very winable games throughout. A couple of their road games worry me a bit but with the clubs coming into town they should be able to get loads of points, especially in four out of their last five home games. I cannot see them dropping home points to Dallas, Toronto, San Jose and Chivas at this point. Even if two of those are rivals I just think LA has a real shot at making things interesting for the Supporter’s Sheild race here since Houston, DC and Columbus have so much more on their schedules than they do.
New England Revolution (13 games remaining: 7 home and 6 away):
New England is sitting out of contention right now but with two or three games in hand on everyone in contention they could make a move this month with four of five at home, and of those against they get San Jose, KC and RSL. They should get nine points in those three games, key word is should. If they get the points they need over the next month or so it should put them into the playoff race for real, which means September and October become big time months. They do have three road trips in September but two should be wins in Dallas and New York. The final month see them play the three C’s of the league: Chicago, Colorado and Columbus (twice). They get Chicago and Columbus at home. Those games should determine if they make the playoffs or if they are going to sit at home this fall.
New York Red Bulls (9 games remaining: 6 home and 3 away):
Probably the best schedule in terms of home games to away games of any club. Sad part is this club has nothing to play for at this point except for spoiling everyone else. Five of their six home games are in a row with the three away games lined up just after that long homestand. My biggest wonder is if this group can get to 20 points or not this season. I think if the ownership doesn’t make any changes between now and the end of the season they may fail to reach the 20 point mark. If they do make some changes they could be in line to win a game or two. Maybe.
Real Salt Lake (11 games remaining: 6 home and 5 away):
Good news they have more home games than road games. Bad news is they still have to play those road games. Lucky for them they may be able to get a point or two on the road with trips to New England, Kansas City and Dallas on the way. They absolutely have to take care of business at home in those six games. It won’t be easy with visits from Houston, Seattle, Chivas, Chicago and rivals Colorado coming into town. They have a shot at the playoffs but they can’t let things slip up now.
San Jose Earthquakes (11 games remaining: 5 home and 6 away):
On the surface the Quakes have a tough stretch ahead. Sure they looked good last week in their 4-0 win over Seattle but that good feeling won’t last long with Columbus in town this weekend. I’ll be real honest here about the Quakes, their playoff chances are very small even if they do win out here. With finishing the season on the road I just don’t see it happening for them this season.
Seattle Sounders FC (12 games remaining: 1 USOC Final; 4 home and 7 away):
For a club that doesn’t do well away from home this schedule could be rough on the expansion side. Their next three road games are tough too with RSL, LA and Houston on the schedule. None of those will be easy trips. They have to make the most of their four remaining home games against New England, Toronto, Chivas, and Dallas. They must get those 12 points.
Toronto FC (11 games remaining: 1 friendly; 4 home and 6 away):
Another squad that is going to have to clean up in their home games if they want to reach the post season. With DC, RSL, San Jose and Colorado coming to town it shouldn’t be too much of an issue for this bunch to get the most out of the rest of their home games. When they are on the road they have to find ways to pick up points no matter what. They have a big west coast swing coming up with games against Seattle, Chivas and Colorado. That could be a make or break trip for this bunch. They should however be able to get nine points in October with the two home games and a road trip to New York.