It is that time of year when people start looking hard at what needs to happen for their favorite team to land in the optimal spot. For some teams, this means will they make it to the playoffs (look at FC Dallas vs Vancouver Whitecaps vying for that fifth spot in the Western Conference), for others it is where they will land in the playoffs (Los Angeles Galaxy, Seattle Sounders, Real Salt Lake) and then there is who will win the beloved Supporters’ Shield.
The Supporters’ Shield is given to the team with the best record in the regular season. Current Supporters’ Shield standings are as follows:
|Team||Games Played||Points||Goals For|
|San Jose Earthquakes||31||61||65|
|Sporting Kansas City||31||58||39|
|New York Red Bulls||31||53||54|
It is important to note that the first tiebreaker if equal on points is "Goals For", or how many goals a team has scored during the regular season.
There are currently three matches left in the regular season and with San Jose sitting only three points above Sporting Kansas City, now is the time to analyze what needs to happen for the Earthquakes to win the Shield and its automatic berth into the CONCACAF Champions League.
So with this information, let’s look at the matrix of how many points the Earthquakes can score versus how many for Sporting KC.
|San Jose Earthquakes||Sporting Kansas City|
|Win 2 Draw 1||68||65|
|Win 2 Lose 1||67||64|
|Win 1 Draw 2||66||63|
|Win 1 Draw 1 Lose 1||65||62|
|Win 1 Lose 2||64||61|
|Draw 2 Lose 1||63||60|
|Draw 1 Lose 2||62||59|
Looking at the above table, we can extrapolate that the Quakes will win the shield if they win at least 2 of their 3 final games since they will end at 67 points which is the same as if Sporting wins all three of their games and the Quakes have the tiebreaker locked up.
- If SKC win all 3, SJ has to win at least 2
- if SKC win 2 and draw 1, SJ must win 1 and can't lose more than 1
- If SKC lose just 1 and win 2, SJ can lose 2 if win 1 or they can draw all 3
- If SKC draw 2 and win 1, SJ has to draw at least 2
- If SKC doesn’t win a game, San Jose automatically wins
Now, let’s look at the rest of the schedule:
San Jose Earthquakes
Sporting Kansas City
|At Colorado Rapids (2-0-0)||At Columbus Crew (1-1-0)|
|Los Angeles Galaxy (2-0-0)||At New York Red Bulls (1-0-1)|
|At Portland Timbers (0-1-1)||Philadelphia Union (0-1-0)|
This schedule looks as if it could favor San Jose more than Kansas City, but looks can be deceiving. LA is a more dangerous team with Omar Gonzalez back in the starting XI and with Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, and David Beckham all healthy and trying for that second spot in the West. Colorado now has Omar Cummings and Conor Casey healthy and San Jose will be without Victor Bernardez due to his suspension for accumulating too many Yellow Cards. And let’s not forget that the Quakes have never beat Portland since the Timbers came into MLS going 0-1-3. But one thing to note is that the Kansas City vs Philadelphia is a Wednesday match and thus the Earthquakes will know what they have to do to win the shield before going into the match at Jeld-Wen.
It will be a long month ahead for the Blue and Black faithful, but one thing is certain these Goonies "never say die" so it should be a fun ride watching the drama unfold.