- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On September 28, 2009
- 10 Comments
- 2009 Week 28, Jeff Cunningham, Playoff Push 2009, Ryan Johnson, Steve Ralston
And just with one weekend the playoff race really cleared up in my eyes. I may end up being wrong about a team or two but for the most part I have a pretty good feeling about six of the clubs that should be in the playoffs this season. The last two spots I am still going back and forth on but I will get into that shortly.
First of all we do know something new about the playoffs. The Columbus Crew are all but officially in if you do the math (The league finally updated their site to say the Crew clinched a spot). Even if they lost their last four games (which I wouldn’t bet on after this past weekend) they would still be at worst the sixth place team this year. Not bad. As for their Supporter’s Shield chances, well it really comes down to that game in hand I think. They took care of business this weekend against LA but really it is all down to how they handle these last four games. I think we’ll see a repeat Shield winner though, they just need two more to at worst tie for first though I believe they do hold a tiebreaker with Houston should that happen.
But let’s move on to see the current standings after this weekend’s set of games. Again for my purposes I use the give the first tiebreaker to the club with the most games remaining. After that its down to head-to-head and then goal differential.
SUPPORTER’S SHIELD RACE
Columbus (26) 12-4-10, 46 points
Houston (27) 12-8-7, 43 points
Chicago (27) 10-6-11, 41
Los Angeles (27) 10-6-11, 41
Colorado (27) 10-8-9, 39 points
Chivas USA (25) 11-9-5, 38
Seattle (27) 9-7-11, 38
New England (25) 10-8-7, 37
LAST SEVEN OUT
D.C. United (27) 8-7-12, 36
Toronto (27) 9-10-8, 35
Real Salt Lake (27) 9-11-7, 34
Kansas City (26) 8-11-7, 31
Dallas (26) 8-12-6, 30
San Jose (25) 6-12-7, 25
New York (27) 4-17-6, 18
Out of the ones that are out of the playoff zone right now keep an eye on Toronto. I know they got a draw on the road this week but it was a big road point. Their remaining schedule is against very weak clubs. And with the news that New England’s Steve Ralston is out now for the year with an ACL injury they could be the club that catches up to the Revs or even the expansion Sounders who seems to be struggling.
I would have put DC on that list to watch out for based on their schedule but when they lost to San Jose this weekend at home it kind of made me think they won’t be in the playoffs this year. They still have hope but they have to find some defense before they can move on into the second season.
San Jose, Dallas and KC are still alive in the race for the playoffs thanks to guys like Ryan Johnson and Jeff Cunningham. But really they continue to play the spoiler role.
One club that is dangerously close to being in that spoiler role is now Real Salt Lake. Their loss to Dallas this week really should have showed everyone what I’ve been saying for months, they just aren’t a playoff club this year. With that may also be a pink slip for Jason Kreis once the season is over. They aren’t officially eliminated but winning their last three in a row just seems like a very tall task for this inconsistent bunch.
At this point though the magic number appears to be 42 points. I’ll honestly be surprised to find a club that clinches a playoff birth not have at least that number at the end of the year.
If I had to make a prediction today for the eight playoff clubs I’d say they would be Columbus, Houston, LA, Chicago, Colorado, Seattle, Chivas and Toronto.
I could be wrong on three of those wild card teams but something tells me Colorado will edge their way in on the last day; Seattle will find a way in and Toronto based on their schedule will get in. Just a hunch.