MLS is crazy. That much goes rather without saying, I think.
And by crazy, I mean more that the parity on display is simply mind-boggling. Montreal has taken the leap from Shield contenders to essentially out of the discussion; Seattle has gone from the heir apparent to a side that is hanging to the edge; even FC Dallas was in early discussions but have found themselves entirely out of the playoffs.
It's all a bit crazy, and when you consider that no side in the West has qualified for the playoffs and that there are only two matches remaining, you have to wonder if it will get even crazier. It well could.
We're off to Portland this weekend, and it really all hangs in the balance with this one match. Win and we're in the driver's seat; lose and we might be hanging on with a match left. That's simply crazy.
Garth Lagerwey has often pointed to 50 points as the minimum for securing a playoff spot; even with 52 points, we're still not secure. We're close, but we're not there yet.
At any rate, we're playing Saturday for our last shot at the Supporters Shield (unless everything goes even more topsy-turvy than it has the rest of the season) and that's a terrifying prospect, but it's one I can't wait to witness. Two sides with everything to play for and remarkably everything to lose - I wouldn't have dreamt this up at the start of the season.
Form is a tricky thing. Continuity another. Real Salt Lake has toyed with both, with continuity sacrificed at the beginning of the season in exchange for continuity at the tail end. Form has its own pitfalls, and I'm not even sure it exists, but there it is. Particularly in a harried league like MLS, form becomes an imaginary thing that can shift at a moment's notice - maybe there's little point in predictions based on it. Indeed, I'd say three teams have had predictable form: Chivas USA, D.C. United and Toronto FC. Everyone else has had their bad spells, their good spells, and the spells that end up vaguely between the two.
Anyway, this weekend, yeah? Let's see what happens. At this point, we have no reason to be upset if we don't claim the Shield, but if we can do it? It would be a storied final few weeks to the season.