With another gritty win the Sounders have now moved to 1.72 points per game, the best in the league. Obviously the Sounders have come a long way since they were stuck at or near the bottom of table for what seemed like an eternity but seven teams have a ppg over 1.5 so the Supporter Shield race starts now. You can look at the Sounders schedule one of two ways, you can say the Shield is theirs to loose (which it is), or you can see it as the toughest road of the teams still in the hunt. The Sounders remaining schedule includes four games against teams currently in first or second in their respective divisions and two rivalry games.
The Sounders will need to gut out another win this weekend when Chicago comes to town with the national team players still gone and Martins still not 100%. Neagle will again be called on to carry the burden of scoring the crucial goal in the absence of his strike partners. Without the contributions of Neagle this season the Sounders would still be flirting with the bottom of the table. Neagle has scored several crucial goals and as if you need another reason to praise the lad he played left back in the Columbus game. With the short turn around it is anyone’s guess as to who will start for the Sounders against Chicago but I can all but guarantee Neagle will lead the line again.
If the Sounders can pull off the win against Chicago then the Supporters Shield is theirs to loose. Parity is the name of the game in the MLS and parity is the Sounders best friend right now. The Sounders could easily drop points in four of their last nine games and still win the Supporters Shield. If the Sounder won five and lost four their ppg would be 1.71 for the season which could very well be enough. Realistically if the Sounders get 19 points from the last nine games they should win the Supporters Shield.
If the Sounders can beat RSL, Red Bulls and LA at home, and pickup four points from the derby matches the Sounders will be in a good place. The final weeks of this MLS season are sure to be exciting with teams so bunched up all but Chivas, Toronto and DC are still in the playoff chase. There are still a lot of games to play but the way things are shaping up the CLink may be hosting a winner take all Supporters Shield match on October 27th.