(October 15, 2016) – There are two games left in the 2016 MLS Regular Season for every team. Many American Soccer fans will be focused on the playoff race over the next two Sunday match days. One other entreating story line is the Supporter’s Shield race. What does the schedule look like for the teams who can still win? What needs to happen for each team to claim the hardware? Let’s break it down.
FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids: Breaking Down the Supporter’s Shield Race
Mathematically, there are still four teams that can win the shield: Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, New York City FC, and New York Red Bulls.
New York Red Bulls – 51 points (14-9-9, +14) and New York City FC – 51 points (14-9-9, +4)
The two New York teams don’t have great odds to win the Shield however. Dallas has 56 points and Colorado has 57. Each of the New York teams would need to win out their final two games AND Colorado would have to lose out AND Dallas could earn no more than one point from their final two games. The New York team would then be tied with the Rapids on 57 points. The New York team would win the first tie breaker (wins, 16 over 14).
Should Dallas get a point and both New York teams win out, there would be a four way tie for the Shield. Both New Yorks and Dallas would be tied on wins, so the second tie breaker is goal differential. Then the Shield would most probably go to the Red Bulls, who are currently +14. NYCFC would have to score more than a dozen goals to overtake them, as they are currently at a +4 goal differential.
All this seems highly unlikely. At this point, both New York teams are playing for seeding in the Eastern Conference.
FC Dallas – 56 points (16-8-8, +9)
Dallas finish the season at home to Seattle Sounders tomorrow. The are at the LA Galaxy next Sunday. That’s a really tough schedule to finish the season out. To make matters worse, they have a midweek game at Suchitepéquez (Guatemala) in CONCACAF Champions League. Dallas need at least a draw in that match to advance to the knock out round.
Seattle are still fighting for their playoff lives. The Dallas back line will need to shut down Jordan Morris and Nicolas Lodeiro. Morris has not scored in three league games. Lodeiro has neither a goal nor an assist in his last two league games.
While the LA Galaxy haven’t looked great of late, they’re still really hard to beat at home. The recent injury to Steven Gerrard might actually simplify things for them. Robbie Keane is on the mend and Landon Donovan continues to get more minutes off the bench. In any case, even if they are walking wounded, they’re no walk in the park.
Colorado Rapids – 57 points (15-5-12, +8)
The Rapids finish at the Portland Timbers then home to the Houston Dynamo. Portland might be the most desperate team this weekend. The defending champions must win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Colorado will also be on short rest. Kevin Doyle returned last match, but is not 90 minutes fit, he might not start in the match on turf.
Next weekend the Rapids will have an expected win. Houston have not traveled to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in 2016. They’ve been eliminated from the playoffs and haven’t had much to play for (other than their individual jobs) for over a month now. The Rapids should win this game. If so, Dallas will need at least a win and a draw to win the Supporter’s Shield race.
A Bold Prediction:
I’ve got to go with the Rapids on this one. The New York teams have to be perfect to just have a chance. Colorado controls their destiny. If they win out, they win the Shield no matter what anyone else does.
Of the four games they and Dallas have left combined, Colorado has the easiest match (home to Houston). I think they win that game against Houston. I think Dallas drop points at least once. That leaves Dallas little room for error elsewhere. With that, the Colorado Rapids will win their first Supporter’s Shield in club history.
Who do you think wins the Shield and why? Hit me up on twitter or let us know in the comments below.