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The Race for the Supporter's Shield

There's 6-9 games left in the 2013 MLS Regular Season. Who's going to end up victorious? Who's going to go home with that coveted CCL spot? I dunno. But science does. Science!

The MLS Supporter's Shield comes standard with two arms, four hands, and two floating torsos (and half a face).
The MLS Supporter's Shield comes standard with two arms, four hands, and two floating torsos (and half a face).
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

In case you weren't aware, it's September, and teams currently have anywhere from 6 - 9 games left in the 2013 MLS Regular Season. Fourteen teams have the possibility of finishing with north of 60 points. The MLS has seen an absurd amount of parity this season, the likes of which danced around in the dreams of Don Garber when he cuddled up with his Brave Heart Carebear whilst wearing his Snorks footie pajamas*.

*This statement isn't speculation. I've been to Don Garber's house** and it's filled with 80's cartoon nostalgia.

**No I haven't.

At this point in space and time, Seattle Sounders Football Club, colloquially known as the "Sounders", currently have the best Points Per Game at 1.72. "But isn't Real Salt Lake ahead of SSFC in the standings?" the lay fan would ask. "Why yes, lay fan, they are, but they've also played three more games than Seattle and only have a Points Per Game ratio of 1.71. Amateurs," we would cleverly retort. If these "Sounders" won all of the games remaining on the schedule, regardless of the performance of other teams, they would finish the season in 1st place and win the Supporter's Shield! Hooray! Time to rent the Party Bus and take a drive through Downtown (Downtown Seattle that is (although a roaming celebratory tour isn't a bad idea for the non-local fans)).

I'm rambling. I compiled a "what if..." table of sorts. To expand on sidereal's State of the MLS posts, this table contains each team's separate "Best Case Scenario" in which they win the remaining games on their schedule. Other results do not factor in.

Club Points GP Points Per Game Potential Points
Seattle Sounders FC 43 25 1.72 70
Real Salt Lake 48 28 1.71 66
Montreal Impact 42 25 1.68 69
Los Angeles Galaxy 43 26 1.65 67
New York Red Bulls 42 27 1.56 63
Sporting Kansas City 42 27 1.56 63
Portland Timbers 39 26 1.50 63
Philadelphia Union 39 27 1.44 60
Colorado Rapids 39 27 1.44 60
Vancouver Whitecaps 37 26 1.42 61
FC Dallas 37 26 1.42 61
New England Revolution 37 26 1.42 61
Houston Dynamo 37 26 1.42 61
Chicago Fire 35 25 1.40 62
San Jose Earthquakes 34 27 1.26 55
Columbus Crew 32 27 1.19 53
Toronto FC 22 26 0.85 46
Chivas USA 22 27 0.81 43
D.C. United 14 26 0.54


Now that we've got all that data up there, let's parse through some of the data, and using future-sounding technology like "extrapolation" and "logic" we'll be able to get an idea of where things stand for those teams who have a realistic shot (those who have the potential for 63+ points).

Seattle Sounders FC

Best Case Scenario: 70 Points

If SSFC wins all of their remaining games, they'll end the season with 70 points. That's good, and stuff. Regardless of any other team, SSFC is in control of their destiny. Win all the games, win the Supporter's Shield, qualify for 2014 CCL.

Remaining Games:

Home - Chicago, RSL, NYRB, Vancouver, LAG

Away - LAG, Colorado, Portland, FC Dallas

Montreal Impact

Best Case Scenario: 69 Points

Montreal Impact has the potential to finish the season with 69 points. That's also a lot of points. Montreal winning their remaining games does not guarantee them the Shield; they need SSFC to drop points. There is a non-zero chance Montreal Impact wins the remaining games on their schedule and the Seattle Sounders draw one match and win the rest and Montreal wins the Supporter's Shield.

Remaining Games:

Home - Columbus, Vancouver, NER, Philadelphia

Away - NER, Chicago, Houston, LAG, Toronto

Los Angeles Galaxy

Best Case Scenario: 67 Points

The Galaxy control their own destiny, much like Seattle. Win the games, get the Shield. With two games against Seattle, one against Montreal, and two games in hand over RSL, LAG can win the Supporter's Shield merely by winning all of their remaining games. Seems simple enough.

Remaining Games:

Home - Colorado, Seattle, Chivas, Montreal, San Jose

Away - D.C., Portland, Seattle

Real Salt Lake

Best Case Scenario: 66 Points

This is where things get tricky. Sure, RSL is atop the table at the moment with 48 points, but the three "true competitors" to taking the Shield each have at least two games in hand over the "rebuilding" RSL. Even if Jason Kreis's side won all its remaining games, it would still need Montreal, Galaxy, and Seattle to drop points in order to stand a chance at winning the Supporter's Shield.

Remaining Games:

Home - San Jose, FC Dallas, Chivas

Away - Seattle, Vancouver, Portland

New York Red Bulls

Best Case Scenario: 63 Points

Here's where the "long shots at the Shield" start appearing. Obviously there are four teams ahead of NYRB in PPG, and Sporking KC are tied with the Harrison side, so things would need to go extremely right. If the Red Bulls won their remaining games, they'd still be trailing Montreal, SSFC, LAG, and RSL. And with three away games remaining, two at Houston and one in Seattle, that's a tough mountain to climb.

Remaining Games:

Home - Toronto, FC Dallas, NER, Chicago

Away - Houston, Seattle, Houston

Sporting Kansas City

Best Case Scenario: 63 Points

Sporting Kansas City doesn't have any remaining games against the teams ahead of them in the standings. They need to not drop any points whilst simultaneously requiring all the rest of the teams to drop enough points as well. Can it happen? Sure, it's possible. Will it happen? Grays Sports Almanac 2001-2050 says no.

Remaining Games:

Home - Columbus, Philadelphia, DC

Away - Toronto, Columbus, Houston, Philadelphia

Portland Timbers

Best Case Scenario: 63 Points



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