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Red Line Report: Third is back in sight

Four teams locked down playoff appearances as the West continues to be chaotic.

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MLS: Los Angeles FC at Chicago Fire
Thank you Fire dude
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

It was a great week for the Seattle Sounders as FC Dallas took control of the West, while the rest of the teams in the sorting hat still haven’t figured out their houses. Draw Conference MLS is good for the teams that win. If you don’t remember the Sounders won.

Clinched: Atlanta United and New York Red Bulls both clinched a bye in the first round. New York City FC and FC Dallas are both assured of making the playoffs.

Eliminated: Chicago Fire join Colorado Rapids and San Jose Earthquakes as eliminated. Due to games in hand Orlando City SC is not eliminated yet, despite only having 25 points, six less than the Fire.

Those Above

3rd: Los Angeles FC - 50/1.67 - 2 home/2 away

You may not know this, but I’m a huge fan of Chicago Fire, Chicago MD and Chicago PD. The crossover event coming up this week sounds fun.*

*I’ve never watched any of these shows. Thank you Fire for beating LAFC.

Unwelcome in the Midwest: Chicago Fire 3, LAFC 1 - Angels on Parade

Next week: at Colorado on Saturday Oct 6 at 6 PM on ESPN+

4th: Portland Timbers - 48/1.55 - 1 home/2 away

Like RSL their future rests in a home/home against another Western Conference foe. Snagging a point from Dallas kept Portland ahead of Seattle, for now. But that’s a wasted opportunity as they run out of string to play.

Portland Timbers can’t break down FC Dallas in 0-0 draw - Stumptown Footy

Next week: at Salt Lake City on Saturday Oct 6 at 6:30 PM on ROOT Sports NW

5th: Seattle Sounders FC - 47/1.57 - 2 home/2 away

To crush your enemies -- See them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their keeper.

Sounders vs. Rapids, recap: Seattle Back in the win column - Sounder At Heart

Next week: hosting Houston on Monday Oct 8 at 7:30 PM on JOEtv

6th: Real Salt Lake - 46/1.48 - 2 home/1 away

If you have any dreams of Seattle taking a top two spot this result was good, but not great. RSL is the only team not playing on decision day. Their decision day will be facing Portland twice.

RSL deadlocks 1-1 with Sporting Kansas City - RSL Soapbox

Next week: hosting Portland on Saturday Oct 6 at 6:30 PM on ROOT Sports NW

Those Below

7th: LA Galaxy - 44/1.42 - 1 home/2 away

Essentially eliminating the team just below them is great for the Galaxy, but they are running out of time as they only have three games to try to catch either RSL or the Timbers. Both those teams play each other, and Zlatan should use his magic to see one of them sweep the other.

LA Galaxy top Vancouver Whitecaps 3-0 - LAG Confidential

Next week: at Kansas City on Saturday Oct 6 at 5:30 PM on ESPN+

8th: Vancouver Whitecaps - 40/1.33 - 2 home/2 away

Stick a fork in them

Shield Hunt
It’s really just two two teams

  1. Atlanta United 63/2.03
  2. New York Red Bulls 62/2.00

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 1 more point, or if Seattle doesn’t win every remaining match. They could still qualify by winning the 2018 MLS Cup. Atlanta currently leads this race by six points.

At last check, 538 had Sounders as 4th in West on pace for 54 points. They were 6th best defense and 18th best attack. Sagarin considered the Sounders 3rd in the West and 6th best overall.

538 now has the Sounders as 4th best in the West and expects them to finish with 54 points, good for 7th overall. This would be the lowest that Seattle has finished in their time in MLS. Their math has a 9% chance of earning the first round bye. The defense is still 6th. The attack is just 14th.

Sagarin saw Seattle rise to 4th overall, 2nd in the West. The strength of schedule dropped to 14th. Sounders earn 1.6 points per game against top 5 teams by Sagarin. The only top 5 team that out-performs the Sounders is Red Bull.

2018 Awards Snapshot

This is who I intend to vote for, for now. I’m nearly locked in with these votes.


  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
  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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