MLS Supporters’ Shield: Top 10

We are reaching a point in the season where it seems like Toronto won’t have any dip in form, and other teams are trailing too far behind to catch up. It seems like a foregone conclusion for Toronto to win the Shield, and it will require a miracle for another team to steal it from them. Teams outside of the top three or four in this race will be turning their focus away from the Shield and towards the playoffs.

1. Toronto FC (Eastern Conference)

Record: 16-8-3 (56 points)
Form: WDWWWW (Last six games)

Toronto gave two more solid performances to prove why they will be the likely winners of the Supporters’ Shield. Sebastian Giovinco also gave solid performances, with two of his three goals coming from freekicks, and the other being a volleyed shot from close range. Victor Vazquez helped orchestrate these victories through his performance in the midfield. He chalked up a goal and two assists across the two games, giving Team of the Week performances.

2. New York City FC (Eastern Conference)

Record: 14-5-7 (47 points)

NYCFC actually appeared to be the worst side in this week’s New York Derby. Despite playing their typical reactive style of football, and getting on the board first, they failed to maintain their lead and ultimately missed out on points that were vital in their chase of Toronto. They will need to be perfect from here on out if they are to have any chance of catching the Canadian leaders, and will require David Villa to continue performing his magic both in creating and scoring goals.

3. Columbus Crew SC (Eastern Conference)

Record: 13-3-12 (42 points)

With a win over a Galaxy team that seems to be without identity, and an FC Dallas team that is losing hold of what seemed like a competent grasp of the Western Conference. Columbus have displayed impressive teamwork on the pitch, but having a one-game deficit to the league-leading Toronto while being so far behind is not good. At this point, if the Crew falter, and Toronto manages to extend the lead any further, then it will be mathematically impossible to win the Shield.

4. Seattle Sounders FC (Western Conference)

Record: 11-9-7 (42 points)

Seattle have stalled, and failing to garner a win out of either of their last two games has put a damper on their chances of winning the Shield. At this point, they should focus on a good playoff seed, as the MLS Cup is really an open competition that any team that makes it into the playoffs can win.

5. Chicago Fire (Eastern Conference)

Record: 12-5-9 (41 points)

The Fire don’t seem the same team that they were earlier this season when they were challenging Toronto for the East. Now facing four losses in a row I feel that it is certain that they won’t rebound, and should look to find some sort of good form so that they aren’t actively dropping seeding for the playoffs. With every loss now the Fire gets closer to dropping out of the playoffs, and with the Impact, Atlanta, and the Red Bulls knocking at the door the Fire will need to strengthen to even stay in the playoffs.

6. Portland Timbers (Western Conference)

Record: 11-8-9 (41 points)

The Timbers have done well in this second half of the season, and now with a fighting chance for the Western Conference title it seems like they should focus more on the playoffs now. The Shield seems like an impossible task, and certainly one that they probably aren’t even considering at this point given the miracle needed to win it. This will make for an even more difficult playoff run for all the teams that only have the playoffs to focus on, as the Timbers can play without the weight of chasing the Shield on their shoulders.

7. Sporting Kansas City (Western Conference)

Record: 10-10-5 (40 points)

Despite not having played a game this week, SKC are in a solid position to challenge for the Shield. With two games in hand on Toronto, they must beat a mix of strong and weak opposition, with their upcoming game against NYCFC being the real test of whether they have the mettle to continue their challenge for the shield. Beyond that, they can look to the MLS cup as they are all but guaranteed a strong seed in the playoffs given their games in hand on the other competition.

8. New York Red Bulls (Eastern Conference)

Record: 12-3-10 (39 points)

In a similar position to SKC, the Red Bulls are in a solid position to challenge for the Shield as an outside contender. Also with games in hand against most of the other teams at the top of the Eastern division, the Red Bulls are poised to solidify themselves into a high-seeding in the playoffs and can look to use that to make a push for the MLS Cup.

9. Vancouver Whitecaps (Western Conference)

Record: 11-5-9 (38 points)

Poised to seize a good seed in the playoffs with several games in hand on most of the competition in the Western Conference, the Whitecaps have no more than an outside chance at the Shield. Something would have to go very wrong for Toronto for the Whitecaps to end up with it despite solid performances in recent games. All this said, a playoff run and even an MLS Cup isn’t outside of the Whitecaps’ chances this season.

10. Houston Dynamo (Western Conference)

Record: 10-8-8 (38 points)

Following an excellent comeback against Texas rivals FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo definitely look like a team that is capable of challenging for the Western Conference, and the MLS Cup beyond that, otherwise I don’t think they are capable at this point of the perfect form required of them to make any sort of challenge for the Shield. On top of that, they have a tough schedule going forward against teams that will be seeking wins in order to both challenge for their divisions and the Shield.

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