Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
'Biggest losers' rue missed opportunities
by Ridge Mahoney, October 12th, 2009 3:45PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential



For a few MLS teams, the playoff race has become a lurching stagger, more a case of "The Biggest Loser" than "Quest for Qwest Field," or whatever postseason marketing slogan the league and ESPN will unveil in a week or so. (MLS Cup 2009 will be played in Seattle Nov. 22)

For reference, here are the points as of today: Columbus (49), Houston (44), Los Angeles (44), Chivas USA (44), Chicago (41), Seattle (41), Colorado (40), and New England (38) are in the playoff tier, and the first four have clinched; in the hunt are FC Dallas (36), D.C. United (36), Toronto FC (36), Real Salt Lake (34), and Kansas City (32).

San Jose (29) and New York (18) are out of the running.

A rundown of team's records since the All-Star break reveals which teams have risen to the occasion, and which teams are reeling toward elimination. In this case, the worst is first, and so on down the line:

D.C. United (2-5-2) wins the Biggest Loser prize, hands-down. As it prepares for the final match of a five-game homestand Saturday against the surging Crew, it is in the midst of a three-game losing skid. The stench of a 2-0 defeat by Chivas USA at RFK Oct. 3 still lingers. Whatever happens in the Concacaf Champions' League - it probably needs to win at Toluca next week to advance - failure to make the playoffs won't come without a cost.

Toronto FC (2-3-4) stumbled in stoppage time Saturday, conceding an equalizer to San Jose to tie, 1-1. The Quakes (4-3-3) arrived after their playoff hopes evaporated Wednesday in a 2-1 loss at Dallas, yet continued the spirited play that has seen them take points off Colorado and D.C. United, and now, TFC, which needs to win its last two games and a lot of help to squeeze into the postseason.

New England (4-5-3) squandered a few "games in hand," and just hasn't had the horses to consistently make up for the long-term absence of Taylor Twellman, and the recent sidelining of Steve Ralston. The Revs lost at home to the Crew Saturday, 1-0, on a bizarre goal by left back Gino Padula, and in September were unable to get points at home against Kansas City and on the road at Dallas and Chivas USA. But thanks to a 2-1 win over Seattle Sept. 26 and a 1-1 tie in Colorado a week later, the Revs cling to the eighth and final playoff spot in the overall standings.

Kansas City (3-6-2) couldn't hold off Chivas USA (5-3-2) Saturday at Home Depot Center in a 2-0 defeat yet still has a slim mathematical chance. A week ago the Wizards came out of Houston with a point (1-1), but with only two games remaining - both at home - they must sweep those games and hope 38 points is enough.

Real Salt Lake (3-4-2) has yet to play this month, was last seen losing, 3-0, in Dallas, and hasn't won since late August. Yet it is one of only two teams that has three games still to play and thanks to the stumbles of other teams can move closer when it hosts New York (2-3-2) Wednesday.

Colorado (3-3-4) and Seattle (3-4-3) are looking good for the postseason though neither has been on a roll of late. But the Sounders posted a vital if lucky away win Oct. 3 when they won, 1-0, at Columbus, a week after losing to the Revs, 2-1, at Qwest Field. The Rapids have stayed alive by tying their last four games: San Jose twice, and Kansas City and New England once apiece.

Chicago (3-5-3) should have clinched by now but its home troubles have prevented it from doing so. Ties against Toronto FC and Columbus (both 2-2) in its last two games at Toyota Park and a home record of 4-4-6 have left the Fire fans scratching their heads. How can the league's highest-scoring road team (23 goals) struggle to penetrate opposing defenses at home?

On the plus side, a few teams are heading into the postseason on good runs. Columbus (6-3-1), Chivas USA (5-3-2) and Los Angeles (5-3-1) seem to have concocted the proper elixir, and if FC Dallas (6-3-1) somehow gets into the postseason, it certainly will have done so on merit, not strictly by the failures of others.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Confidential
Whitecaps own up to their shortcomings in 2016    
The plight of defending champion Portland has been a running saga all season yet its foe ...
Drogba and Saputo show the power of 'big personalities'    
Players on big salaries often bring along big egos as well. Montreal owner Joey Saputo has ...
What was the value of the USA's bumpy win in Cuba?    
The USA's 2-0 win in a friendly over Cuba on Friday marked its first return to ...
Paul Arriola takes advantage of opportunities for USA    
On and off the field, fast starts are normal for Paul Arriola. He scored a goal ...
Options could lead to makeover of U.S. midfield    
Strong performances by several players in friendlies against Cuba and New Zealand could create a logjam ...
Bob Bradley steps into a tough new world    
Last season, 11 of 20 Premier League clubs changed managers, including major stars such as Louis ...
New NASL owner expects to see difference in how league operates    
The interlocking and overlapping elements of North American pro soccer are among the issues facing owners ...
So far, Jordan Morris' decisions have been the right ones    
U.S. forward Jordan Morris turned down a move to German club Werder Bremen, which is rooted ...
MLS Playoff Watch: Breaking down the Eastern Conference's battle of bubble teams    
With a month of the regular season to be played, no Eastern Conference team has clinched ...
Strenghtened Sounders set aside distractions to focus on postseason quest    
The midseason arrival of Nicolas Lodeiro and the return to fitness of Roman Torres has bolstered ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives