Toronto FC continue seven-game unbeaten run to continue domination of the MLS, as all other competitors fight to unseat them from the top. NYCFC seem the only team currently capable of keeping pace with them, but with a few outside contenders lining up, it looks like it might turn out to be an exciting stretch of the MLS season.
1. Toronto FC (Eastern Conference)
Record: 14-8-3 (50 points)
Form: DDWDWW (Last six games)
With a resounding victory over Eastern rivals Chicago Fire, Toronto are now on a seven-game unbeaten run. With no signs of stopping, it seems like nothing has changed from last week and Toronto are on track to win the Supporters Shield. It is theirs to lose, and with only nine games remaining they must win eight to clinch should NYCFC win their remaining games. The only other Top 10 teams they will face are New York Red Bulls and Montreal Impact, whom they must play three times.
2. New York City FC (Eastern Conference)
Record: 14-4-7 (46 points)
While they did earn the win, NYCFC were not very convincing against a New England Revolution team that they shouldn’t really struggle against, needing a stoppage-time goal to even get the win. With seven of their nine remaining games being against other Top 10 teams, NYCFC will have to keep up their quality in order to win all of the games necessary, which with Toronto in the form they are, seems like all nine of them. David Villa netted his 19th goal of the season this week, and with no signs of him slowing down, more goals from him should help NYCFC edge their opponents.
3. Chicago Fire (Eastern Conference)
Record: 12-5-8 (41 points)
The Fire have done nothing to show they still have the drive to win the Shield, and with a single win in their last six games, they are running out of time to come anywhere near winning the Shield. While it is not mathematically impossible to win the shield by even a long shot, they will most likely have to win out in order to have a chance. Four of their last nine games will be against teams in the Top 10, so they will need to buckle down and show up like they did earlier in the season when they were looking like the team to beat.
4. Seattle Sounders (Western Conference)
Record: 11-7-7 (40 points)
On a seven-game unbeaten run of their own, the Sounders have shown that they are willing to fight until the last minute to win the Supporters Shield. All of that said, their opposition in the last six games has been anything by difficult, with Sporting Kansas City being their only Top 10 competition. There doesn’t seem to be any change to that rhythm though, as Portland Timbers are the only other Top 10 team that they will have to face in their remaining nine games.
5. Sporting Kansas City (Western Conference)
Record: 10-10-5 (40 points)
Having lost hold of their previous domination of the West, Sporting Kansas City fought to reclaim their spot at the top with a win over a tough FC Dallas team. They’ll have to continue fighting as their next three games will be against Top 10 teams, after which they will still have two more Top 10 games to play in their remaining fixtures. Despite the loss of Dom Dwyer, they seem up to the task, and definitely have more than an outside chance despite the ten-point deficit between them and Toronto.
6. New York Red Bulls (Eastern Conference)
Record: 12-2-10 (38 points)
With a painful loss to Portland Timbers and a New York Derby on the horizon, the Red Bulls will have anything but an easy time making up lost ground. Luckily, they have a game in hand on the competition, because with their tough schedule they will need all the help they can get in order to have a chance at the Shield. Half of their remaining games are against Top 10 teams, and four of the others are against teams just outside of the Top 10, meaning that they will need to put forward top performances in all of their ten remaining games.
7. Houston Dynamo (Western Conference)
Record: 10-7-8 (37 points)
With a loss to the Whitecaps fresh in their memory, the Dynamo travel into the Texas Derby with something to prove. They have a tough schedule ahead, with more than half of their remaining games being against Top 10 teams, and will need to put their best foot forward in order to have a chance at winning the Shield.
8. Portland Timbers (Western Conference)
Record: 10-7-9 (37 points)
The Timbers made a statement with their shutout of the Red Bulls, but with a one-game disadvantage on the rest of the competition, they look like they will need to win out if they want a shot at the seemingly distant Supporters Shield. Looking at their schedule, this doesn’t seem possible as they are still without a win this season against nearly half of the teams they are set to play, though with a little bit of magic from their midfield maestro Diego Valeri, anything could be possible.
9. Columbus Crew SC (Eastern Conference)
Record: 11-3-12 (36 points)
Also with a one-game disadvantage, the Crew don’t seem to have the form to be capable of winning out, and thus the Supporters Shield seems out of reach. With a relatively difficult schedule, it seems all the more unlikely that we will see a successful run for the Shield, and I honestly expect the Crew to drop off from the race in the next couple of weeks.
10. Montreal Impact (Eastern Conference)
Record: 10-6-8 (36 points)
The Impact are a team in form, bouncing back from their series of losses a few weeks ago, they are now on a four-game winning streak and don’t look like they will stop anytime soon. With eleven goals scored in those four wins, they seem like they have a shot at beating Toronto in their next game, and with a game in hand doing so might upset the status quo enough to give them a shot at winning the Shield. The rest of their schedule is pretty rough, having to play away at Toronto twice more after they play them at home on Sunday, but if they can maintain their form it might be possible.