- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On September 5, 2012
- 0 Comments
- 2012 MLS Playoffs, 2012 MLS Season, 2012 Supporters Shield, Features
As I mentioned yesterday, the MLS Supporters’ Shield race has gotten a little tighter in recent weeks. Overall though it is not anywhere close to being a five or even a six team race like previously thought. No, it really is down to three – maybe four – teams at most.
I know some fans will claim their club could sneak but up into this contention list but right now I don’t buy it. It’s these four clubs.
San Jose Earthquakes (16-6-5, 53 points, 8 games remaining – 3 home, 4 away, 1 friendly)
In my mind, the Shield is the Quakes’ to lose at this point. San Jose has been so good up until this point – only stumbling here and there. The four road games do worry me a bit given that they are against clubs that will be desperate to get points in terms of a playoff hunt of their own (roadies at Dallas and Portland). They get the Timbers twice in this remaining schedule. Other games that should be wins include trips to Chivas and Colorado. Two tough games left however against Seattle and LA could be potential playoff previews.
Sporting Kansas City (15-7-5, 50 points, 7 games remaining – 3 home, 4 away)
Very tricky remaining schedule for my pre-season Shield pick. Home games include visits from Houston, Chicago and Philadelphia – should be six-nine points there. The road games won’t be as kind in my book as they have to go to Montreal (never an easy game), New York twice (very good at home), and Columbus (red hot).
I think if Sporting can find a way to get points – even if they are draws- at New York in both games plus a win in either Columbus or Montreal that there could be a good chance that they could sneak up to the top of the league table. It won’t be easy though, I’ll just say that.
New York Red Bulls (13-7-7, 46 points, 7 games remaining – 5 home, 2 away)
I talked about them yesterday in my playoff race post but they get included here due to that large amount of home games left on the schedule. In my mind, they shouldn’t lose another home game given their form at Red Bull Arena this year. If they get five wins out of seven that pushes them to 61 points – which could be good enough if San Jose stumbles any down the stretch of decides to take their foot off the pedal.
Seattle Sounders FC (12-6-8, 44 points, 10 games remaining – 5 home, 3 away, 2 CCL)
Some will wonder why Real Salt Lake isn’t included on this list and Seattle is. For me it is simple, both teams have extra CCL games so you can throw that out of the mix. Where things are different is the number of home games left between each side and the fact that Seattle has two games in hand at the moment over RSL. Lastly, I just don’t see a 10-loss team winning the Shield, period.
The schedule is pretty tricky though for the Sounders who are probably more inclined to just take a top two finish at this point in the year. They get Chivas and Dallas at home – two winable games. Visits from Portland and San Jose are toss ups in my mind but are certainly doable. The tricky one is that home game with RSL – who has always played well in Seattle. A win there would wing the tide back to the Sounders, a loss would give the momentum to RSL going into the playoffs where these two would likely meet.