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MLS Soccer projects RSL to win the Supporters' Shield - plus 3 teams that will play a key role

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Well today on mlssoccer.com one of their authors (Nate Sulat) looked at what teams are hot and not in MLS as part of his "MLS Thermometer" and he came to this conclusion:

Caution: Very Hot

Here come Real Salt Lake. The reigning MLS champs officially have the longest home unbeaten streak in league history, shutting out the Chicago Fire 1-0 at Rio Tinto last Saturday and making it 23 games since the last time the team lost in Sandy. Taking just their last five games into consideration, RSL are picking up 2.2 points per game. If they keep that pace up, they are actually the frontrunners to win the Supporters' Shield with 58 points.

It is nice to see RSL getting a little bit more love from MLS and the rest of the media, they have worked hard all year long and after a rough first 5 matches, they have been simply the best team in MLS. They have established the "Reign of RSL" at "Castle Real" and have just one loss in their last 20 league matches (only 5 teams have ever done that). If they can maintain their pace they could set several MLS records before the season is out:

For me there are 3 teams that will play a huge role in what the final outcome of the RSL season will be:

Colorado Rapids- we have two matches left with them and as our "biggest" rival the matches are often intense and sometimes a bit physical. The Rapids want some revenge for RSL keeping them out of the playoffs the last couple years, while RSL want to claim the Rocky Mountain Cup, on their way to even more hardware. The Rapids will also face both FC Dallas and the LA Galaxy before there season ends, with 3 of these 4 matches being on the road it will be a tough test for Colorado, but 4 matches with 12 points in play that will all play a part in where RSL ends the season.

FC Dallas - The only team to beat RSL since April in MLS action, they will face off against RSL in the final regular season match of the 2010 season at "Castle Real" but beyond the result that night, FC Dallas will face Colorado at home in October and then will end their season at the Home Depot Center against the LA Galaxy. 3 matches with 9 points at stake that will impact both RSL's and their own final place in the standings.

New York Red Bulls - While the Red Bulls are making their own run at both first place in the East and trying to get a shot at the Supporters' Shield, they will be major players in RSL's fate as well. First they will face the LA Galaxy on Friday of this week at the Home Depot Center (a win for NY would give RSL a chance to catch LA with a win over the Rapids on Saturday). RSL will head to the new Red Bull Arena in a couple weeks for an October 9th showdown that could determine the Supporters' Shield race for both of these teams. 2 matches with 6 huge points that impact RSL.

OFF MY SOAPBOX