The Final Sprint – Getting the Supporters’ Shield

[ 0 ] September 10, 2013 |

It’s all come down to this. Real Salt Lake has six matches to go and is in very good position to win the Supporters’ Shield.

Jason Kreis’ side currently holds the most points in the league and the third most points per match.

Here is an assessment of each of RSL’s competitors for the Supporters’ Shield and where I think they will end up. Realistically, the contenders for the Supporters’ Shield are Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders FC, Montreal Impact, and the Portland Timbers.

This will tell us how many points the Claret and Cobalt will need in order to win its first ever Supporters’ Shield.

Seattle Sounders FC

46 pts in 26 matches. 1.77 points per match

Last 5: LWWWW

Remaining Matches:

  • Home: Real Salt Lake
  • Away: LA Galaxy
  • Home: New York Red Bulls
  • Away: Colorado Rapids
  • Home: Whitecaps FC
  • Away: Portland Timbers
  • Away: FC Dallas
  • Home: LA Galaxy

That is a brutal schedule. Only the Whitecaps (a rival) and FC Dallas aren’t in the playoff picture. Even those two are dangerous sides that can threaten. I think it’s generous to project Seattle manages to maintain its 1.77 points per match through this stretch. Assuming Seattle wins three out of four at home, it will still need to get five points in its four brutal road matches to maintain close to that level. Given that the current hot stretch (won 6 of 7) has included wins over Columbus, Chivas USA (2x), and Toronto FC, I doubt this can continue.

With that said, I doubt that Seattle does significantly worse than this either. If the side dropped to 1.2 points per match, it will still end up getting 9-10 more points.

Prediction: 60 points

Montreal Impact

45 Points in 26 matches. 1.73 points per match

Last 5: LWWDW

Remaining Matches:

  • Home: Columbus Crew
  • Home: Vancouver Whitecaps
  • Away: Chicago Fire
  • Away: Houston Dynamo
  • Home: New England Revolution
  • Away: LA Galaxy
  • Home: Philadelphia Union
  • Away: Toronto FC

Montreal’s schedule is compounded by the fact that the side has two midweek CONCACAF matches in between its next three matches. That makes for a brutal five matches in 15 days stretch that could impact a very old side.

I can’t imagine Montreal maintaining its level. I’m betting the side can win two of its home matches and manage four points in its four road matches.

Prediction: 55 points

LA Galaxy

43 points in 27 matches 1.59 points per match

Last 5: DWWWL

Remaining Matches:

  • Away: DC United
  • Home: Seattle Sounders
  • Away: Portland Timbers
  • Home: Chivas USA
  • Home: Montreal Impact
  • Home: San Jose Earthquakes
  • Away: Seattle Sounders

The Galaxy are tough to read because they have been very hot lately but also face three CONCACAF matches (including two on the road) that will make this remaining stretch difficult. I could see them averaging a little better than their season average, especially because this schedule (other than the Sounders matches) is weaker than LA’s competition. I’ll give them four wins and two draws to close out the season as a best case scenario.

Prediction: 57 points

Portland Timbers

42 points in 27 matches. 1.56 points per match

Last 5: WDLLW

Remaining Matches:

  • Away: Chivas USA
  • Home: Colorado Rapids
  • Home: LA Galaxy
  • Away: Vancouver Whitecaps
  • Home: Seattle Sounders
  • Home: Real Salt Lake
  • Away: Chivas USA

Portland sports the easiest remaining schedule of any of the contending clubs. The question for them is whether they can right the ship following a series of bad results. I’m betting yes as the problems seemed to coincide with the injury to Will Johnson. Now that Will is back, I suspect Portland will get hot and win quite a few matches. I will give Portland wins in all three road contests, two in home contests and a draw in another.

Prediction: 58 points

What This Means

As you can tell, I’m giving each of these squads the benefit off the doubt in my predictions. By definition, not all will reach the totals I have given as there are too many matches between these squads. With that said, the predicted totals for each of Salt Lake’s Supporters’ Shield contenders are:

  • Seattle: 60 points
  • Portland: 58 points
  • LA: 57 points
  • Montreal: 56 points

Real Salt Lake will almost surely hold the tiebreaker over any of these clubs with the most goals scored in the league, so Jason Kreis’ men will probably need 60 points to win the Supporters’ Shield. Here is what that will take:

Real Salt Lake

48 points in 28 matches. 1.71 points per match

Last 5: WLDWW

Remaining Matches:

  • Away: Seattle Sounders
  • Home: San Jose Earthquakes
  • Away: Vancouver Whitecaps
  • Home: FC Dallas
  • Away: Portland Timbers
  • Home: Chivas USA

Real Salt Lake will play the US Open Cup Final midweek between the Vancouver and FC Dallas matches. Still, I think RSL wins all three home matches. The question is whether the side can pick up a road win or three road draws. If Jason Kreis’ men can do so, I think they will definitely win the Supporters’ Shield.

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Category: Opinion

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