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Supporters Shield race: Six conditions that must be met for RSL to win it

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Supporters Shield race is well and truly heating up now, and after last night's thumping of Seattle by Vancouver (4-1!), we can look at things with a bit of encouragement and hope.

We can talk long and intensely about how we'd be in a much better position with one or two very possible throughout the season, but this is our lot, and there's nothing to be done about it now but to win.

We might not be playing for the Shield -- in fact, I hope we're not -- but we're anything but out. Our focus should instead be the things we can control, and that includes our form heading into a vital playoff period.

But to win it, the following events need to occur.

1) Real Salt Lake must win their remaining two games

2) New York must drop more than one point OR drop one point AND not score five more goals than Real Salt Lake does in their two remaining games AND not concede fewer than Real Salt Lake

3) Sporting KC must drop one or more points OR not score eleven more goals than RSL in the same period

4) Seattle Sounders must drop more than two points OR drop two points AND not score 13 more goals than RSL in the same period

5) Portland must drop one point AND not score seven more goals than RSL in the same period

6) Montreal must drop one point OR not score seven more goals than RSL in the same period

If Real Salt Lake does not win its remaining two games, it will surely be lost. Even still, New York is in firm control of the shield race, and Seattle could still run away with it (as much as one can run away with the most tightly contested Shield in recent memory).

Key matches

(a) October 13 (09:00 pm ET): Portland v Seattle -- A draw here would be the best result. Both teams would drop two points, satisfying (5) and almost certainly satisfying (4). A win for either side would satisfy either (4) or (5) but not both.

(b) October 18 (08:00 pm ET): Sporting KC v DC United -- A win for DC United or a draw would satisfy (3).

(c) October 19 (02:30 pm ET): FC Dallas v Seattle -- If Seattle wins (a), a draw or a loss against FC Dallas would satisfy (4).

(d) October 19 (10:30 pm ET): Portland v Real Salt Lake -- Our model assumes two RSL wins to satisfy (1), and this is one of them. If Portland has won (a), satisfying (4) in the process, the win satisfies (5).

(e) October 20 (04:00 pm ET): Houston v New York -- A draw or a loss for New York would satisfy (2).

(f) October 23 (09:00 pm ET): Real Salt Lake v Chivas USA -- A win is necessary to satisfy (1).

(g) October 26 (10:30 pm ET): Chivas USA v Portland -- Our model assumes (d) ends in an RSL win, so the result of this is moot.

(h) October 26 (3 p.m. ET): Philadelphia v Sporting KC -- Any points dropped here would satisfy (3).

(i) October 27 (05:00 pm ET): New York v Chicago -- A draw or a loss for New York would satisfy (2) if (e) has not already.

(j) October 27 (09:00 pm ET): Seattle v LA Galaxy -- A loss or a draw for Seattle would satisfy (4) if (a) and (c) have not already.

Montreal is a bit of a long shot, but let's touch on that. If Montreal drops points in any one of the matches, (6) is satisfied.

October 12 (2:30 pm ET): Montreal v New England -- October 16 (10:30 pm ET): LA Galaxy v Montreal -- October 19 (2:00 pm ET): Montreal v Philadelphia -- October 26 (4:00 pm ET): Toronto FC v Montreal