Well most teams have played 27 matches, meaning they have just 3 matches left and the gap between the playoff likely teams and playoff wanna bes is 7 points. Will the action come down to the final weekend of the season, or will teams that want in step up and take their spots?
16. DC United - 21 points
Despite a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids, the Black and Red are still 4 points behind Chivas USA for the battle to not be the worst team in MLS this year. San Jose, @ Chicago, and TFC are the matches that remain on their schedule and there are point to be had there, but it is unlikely that DC will escape the #3 draft pick and the leagues worst record this year.
15. New England Revolution - 26 points
While the Rev's have fought hard in recent weeks with a couple of 2-2 draws against FC Dallas and Columbus, they were unable to overcome a fatigued RSL side at home and lost a 2-1 match where they were probably the better team. The Rev's have started talking DP's already as they clearly are looking to 2011, but they still have @Houston, Kansas City, and @New York on their schedules and I hope they continue to battle has hard as they have in their recent matches.
the rest of the rankings after the jump:
14. Houston Dynamo - 27 points
With recent trades one has to wonder if Dominic has already started the rebuilding process, and given his teams 1-1 draw with the Union and the talk that owners AEG have sent their blessing on a big name DP, it looks like 2011 is what the focus for the "Creamsicles" will be for the rest of the season. They get play host to New England, travel to San Jose, and wrap up the season at home against the Seattle Sounders.
13. Chivas USA - 25 points
Oh how I had hoped that Sunday's "less than classico" would have been one of the matches where the individual efforts of Chivas players would have at least made the match against the Galaxy a challenge, but in the end it wasn't to be and for Chivas it is clear that the issues they will need to address before next season are many. Their remaining schedule is; Toronto FC, @ Seattle, @ San Jose, and Chicago, it is unlikely that their road matches will provide much opportunity to impress but both of their home matches could see them collecting points.
12. Chicago Fire - 29 points
See the thing with smoke and mirrors is that you never know for sure what you are going to get. Do you get the team that blows out San Jose 3-0 a couple weeks ago or the one that gets thrashed by FC Dallas 3-0? The Fire have had a busy end of the season, thanks to the month off for Superliga, and while they are not eliminated from the playoffs just yet, they are not going to make it, as their fate should be sealed this weekend. The Fire play host to the Crew, then host Kansas City, host DC United, and end their season at Chivas USA, they will pick up a few points but nowhere near enough to make a real run at a playoff spot.
11. Toronto FC - 31 points
Well eliminated from CCL play, a player who openly is saying he wants more money (and he deserves it over your current DP's) and a 3-2 loss to Seattle that all but ended any dreams of the playoffs, had to be a tough week for fans of TFC, but hey a month after you are done playing you can host MLS Cup. The final 3 matches may be a time for DeRo to make his "check" case, for the DP's to prove some type of value, and for a bunch of guys to try to secure a job, @ Chivas USA, the Crew at home, and @ DC United. There is plenty of chance for everyone to get something done on an individual basis but as a team you are done.
10. Philadelphia Union - 28 points
I am not sure why I have the Union this high, a uninspired 1-1 draw with Houston, out of the hunt for a playoff spot, and yet I make them a top 10 team? Because they are one of the few teams this low in the rankings that actually plays as a team and while the majority of attention may go to Danny Mwanga and Sebastien Le Toux, it has been clear for months that they are playing more like a team than many others. They finish off their season with LA at home, the Red Bulls at home, and away at the Crew.
9. Kansas City Wizards - 33 points
I think the Wizards are the only team with a real shot to content for one of the final playoff spots, they fought hard in a 1-0 loss at New York and with 4 matches left they could get up to 12 points, they currently are 7 points out of the final spot (depending on tiebreakers). They host Seattle this weekend, then are away at Chicago, away at New England, and end the season at home against San Jose (one of the teams they are battling for a playoff spot with). They will need to get some big results against Western Conference foes if they want to play in the post season.
8. Colorado Rapids - 41 points
If the Rapids play like they did last weekend against DC United, well they could be in a lot of trouble. They have the toughest schedule in MLS, @ FC Dallas, @ LA Galaxy, home against Real Salt Lake to end the season. It is possible that the Rapids may not get another point this year, so the question is can KC catch them or will 41 points be enough to return to the post season for the Rapids. This is going to make that final weekend a very interesting one for some teams.
7. San Jose Earthquakes - 40 points
Well the Quakes rebounded from a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Fire to battle to a 0-0 draw with the Crew, now they will need to beat the teams that have struggled all season if they want to ensure their playoff hopes. With 4 matches left, no playoff contending team has an easier schedule. @ DC United, Houston at home, Chivas USA at home, and ending the season at Kansas City, 7 points at a minimum should be the goal for the Quakes, and that would secure their spot in the playoffs.
6. Seattle Sounders - 42 points
Well at the midpoint of the season many had given up hope that Seattle would be sitting in a playoff spot with 3 weeks to go, but they are and I think they are much more secure than Colorado. Their 3-2 win over Toronto was just enough to get them to the "magic" number of 42 points, and it should be enough to keep them into the playoffs. They may be able to pick up a couple more points, and their biggest match will be this weekend at Kansas City, who are fighting for their own post season dreams. Then home against Chivas USA, before ending at Houston, the Sounders should be able to pick up a few more points in those final two matches as they secure their spot.
5. Columbus Crew - 46 points
I have been tough on the Crew all year but the reality is that they are in the playoffs, the question will remain if they are good enough to get out of the first round. They won't be winning the Supporters' Shield and perhaps if they can find a way to get a win on Tuesday over the Sounders in the Open Cup, they might have some hardware this year. They struggled to get a 0-0 draw at home with San Jose, and next up they have a match at Chicago, then they head to BMO field to face TFC, and end the year hosting the Philly Union. They should be able to add to their points with these matches, but can they pass New York for top spot in the East?
4. New York Red Bulls - 47 points
The Red Bulls were a bit of a downer after their big win over LA, they struggled to a 1-0 win over KC at home. They are secure in their playoff spot but they are looking to keep the top spot in the Eastern Conference, and they should be able to do so with a couple of cupcake matches after this weekends match against Real Salt Lake. NYDP will then face Philly on the road and finish up hosting the Revolution. I think they hold on to the top spot in the East, which makes it interesting to see who finishes in the final wildcard spot, could you see the fun of a NYRB vs. Seattle Sounders first round matchup?
3. Los Angeles Galaxy - 53 points
Well LA looked bad against New York, they looked great for a half against Chivas and held on to a 2-1 win over Chivas USA to move back to the top spot overall in MLS. LA should have little problem in Philadelphia this week against the Union, but their final two matches have them playing host to Colorado and ending the season with FC Dallas. With Colorado fighting for a playoff spot, and FC Dallas still sitting with just 2 losses on the year, LA should be able to get some points but will it be enough to hold on to the top spot in the West and the Supporters' Shield?
2. FC Dallas - 49 points
Well FC Dallas exposed the Chicago Fire as a team not worthy of the post season with a 3-0 thrashing, but things get a little bit tougher for them as their final 3 matches are all against Western Conference opponents who are either in the playoffs or in the hunt. They will start by hosting the Colorado Rapids, then travel to Real Salt Lake, and end the season with a trip to the Home Depot Center to face the Galaxy, I doubt they can get enough points to jump past RSL and LA, but they sure could make things interesting.
1. Real Salt Lake - 51 points
Ugly road wins are still road wins and this year RSL has turned their road fortunes around with a 4-4-5 record, thanks to the 2-1 win over New England. RSL took away the top spot from LA for a day and they will hope that the Union can slow down the Galaxy and give them a shot to catch LA with a result on the road against the top team in the Eastern Conference, the New York Red Bulls. RSL has one of the toughest schedules for their final 3 matches, after New York, they will come home to face FC Dallas (the last team to beat RSL), and then finish off the season with the Rocky Mountain Cup 2nd leg at Colorado. They will need at least 6-7 points to keep the pressure on the Galaxy for the Supporters' Shield and top spot in the Western Conference.
OK, there you go my thoughts on the power structure of MLS after 27 weeks of action.
OFF MY SOAPBOX