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Red Line Report: West’s middle wasteful

Atlanta locks down a first-round bye.

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MLS: Real Salt Lake at Atlanta United FC Adam Hagy -USA TODAY Sports

In their double-game week the Seattle Sounders lost twice, which isn’t helpful. They have a single match during this week and no Western Conference sides play twice, so this week’s Red Line Report looks at only teams within three points of the red line, which is where the Sounders sit.

Atlanta United is a lock to get a bye in the East. New York Red Bulls are in the playoffs. San Jose Earthquakes and Colorado Rapids are already eliminated.

Those Above

4th: Portland Timbers - 47/1.57 - 2 home/2 away

The split in results during their two-match week earned them a spot up in the standings. If they didn’t blow their chance in Minnesota they would be essentially clear of the red line and challenging for a bye in the first round. They did in fact blow their chance.

Timbers’ good 2nd half doesn’t make up for terrible 1st half in loss - Stumptown Footy
The Portland Timbers played half a game of soccer today, winning the second 45’ of their match against Minnesota United by a score of 2-0.

Portland Timbers come from behind to beat Columbus Crew SC 3-2
The Portland Timbers came from behind to win their final cross-conference match of the regular season in convincing fashion, taking down the Columbus Crew 3-2.

Next week: hosts Dallas on Sept. 29 at 7:30 PM on ESPN+. This match gives RSL and Seattle hope.

5th: Real Salt Lake - 45/1.50 - 2 home/2 away

This was one of those results that made Seattle fans really happy when they saw it. Sometimes joy doesn’t last very long.

RSL unable to overcome league leaders, fall 2-0 in Atlanta - RSL Soapbox
RSL dropped points in Atlanta tonight as the league’s top team cruised to a 2-0 win over the visitors. RSL remains above the playoff line with only four games to go.

Next week: at Kansas City on Sept. 30 at 2 PM on FS1.

6th: Seattle Sounders - 44/1.52 - 3 home/2 away

There is no pain, you are receding.
A distant ships smoke on the horizon.
I have become comfortably numb

Sounders at LA Galaxy, recap: Blown opportunity to move up standings - Sounder At Heart
Zlatan, Ola Kamara and Emmanuel Boateng take advantage of defensive errors.

Next week: hosts Colorado on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 1 PM on JOEtv. With the two teams above facing teams contesting the top seed, the Sounders chance at a home game may just rest on beating the Rapids.

Those Below

7th: LA Galaxy 41/1.37 ppg - 2 home/2 away

Galaxy, I mocked you last week. I deserve this. I still don’t think LA is good enough to qualify over RSL.

LA Galaxy rout Seattle Sounders 3-0 - LAG Confidential
The Galaxy snap the seven game winless skid and keep their playoff hopes alive

Next week: hosts Vancouver on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 7 PM on ESPN+. This is essentially an elimination game for the Whitecaps, who are already four points below the line.

Shield Hunt
It’s really just two two teams

  1. Atlanta United 63/2.10
  2. New York Red Bulls 59/1.97

The Maths of Seattle

The Sounders are eliminated from the Supporters’ Shield race. They can be eliminated from the “best record” qualification for the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League if New York Red Bulls take 4 more points, or if Seattle doesn’t win every remaining match. They could still qualify by winning the 2018 MLS Cup.

At last check, 538 had Sounders as 3rd in West on pace for 56 points. They were 4th best defense and 14th best attack. Sagarin considered the Sounders 2nd in the West and 4th best overall.

538 now has Seattle as 4th in the West on pace for 53 points and edging Portland. The chance at a first round bye plummeted to 4%. The defense is only 6th best and the attack is 18th.

Sagarin saw SSFC fall to 6th overall and just 3rd in the Western Conference. They still have had the 4th most difficult schedule. The East moved back ahead of the West.

2018 Awards Snapshot

this is who I intend to vote for, for now


  1. Josef Martinez
  2. OK, Zlatan, you’ll stay on the list. You’re still not winning.

Defensive Player of the Year

  1. Chad Marshall (his importance wasn’t made more clear than in the two losses this week)
  2. Aaron Long

Goalkeeper of the Year

  1. Stefan Frei (he’s averaging less than a goal a game against)
  2. Luis Robles

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