I mentioned on my Twitter account a few weeks ago when RSL was playing the Galaxy and Timbers on the road that if they did not win one of those two games they would not win the Supporters' Shield. RSL ended up losing one and tying the other in dramatic fashion. I started to second guess myself this past weekend when Real faced the Sounders in a fight for first place in the league, but now that RSL lost that match they really face an uphill battle to win the regular season trophy.
I stand by my statement from August 21st, in part because I have to maintain some integrity, but having looked at the remaining schedules for Seattle and Salt Lake, I might end up eating my words. I don't think I will, but it is not improbable that RSL end up with the most points at the end of the season.
I am not fully considering L.A. in this conversation, not because they aren't one of the best in the league, but largely because I think they are far enough back in the standings and have CONCACAF to deal with plus their remaining MLS games over the next month and a half. I think they have more of an uphill battle than RSL or Seattle by far. And to be frank, I don't think any of the other Western Conference teams have a shot. In the East, Montreal, New York, and Kansas City could pull it off, but I won't consider them in this conversation either. Basically what I'm saying is that I think it comes down to RSL and the Seattle Sounders. Completely subjective.
So what remains? Seattle faces New York, Colorado, Vancouver, Portland, Dallas, and L.A. twice totaling seven games across all competitions, three of which are at home. That is not an easy schedule to close out the season. All of those clubs are playoff contenders and only one of them, Vancouver, doesn't have a winning record at this point.
Real Salt Lake faces San Jose, Vancouver, D.C., Dallas, Portland, and Chivas totaling six games across all competitions, four of which are at home. (One of those games is not MLS play, rather, Open Cup.) It is relatively easy to see that this is not as difficult of a schedule with three of these teams either very likely or sure not to make MLS Playoffs.
Real Salt Lake will travel less and not play as many games overall meaning they should be able to play games relatively well-rested.
Many of the RSL players and coaching staff have made it clear that the race is not over for the best regular season record. Kreis has gone as far as saying he believes in second chances which recognizes it won't be easy, but it is definitely still there to play for.
This is one of those cases where I hope my prediction was wrong.