MLS: Every Teams’ Remaining Schedule + Analysis (because I like you and hate me)

Not to go all nelly on all y’all – though I can do that from time to time – Fire_Juve10 acted as my muse for today.  After reading (and saying nice things about…yay!) my post on last weekend’s Chicago v. Columbus, he listed Chicago’s upcoming games.  Prior to seeing those, I would have listed Chicago the clear favorites for the eighth and final post-season spot – a notion that precludes such entirely plausible scenarios as a third consecutive flameout from the Kansas City Wizards (just answer this: is their last game against Red Bull New York?).

So, inspired by that, I’m listing all the upcoming games for all the teams in Major League Soccer (MLS) – a decision that necessitates ditching the Daily Sweeper for today.  Also, I did think of linking to the source material – e.g. the “schedule” part of each team’s official website – before thinking about the time it would take to add all the links.  So, if you want to check my work – and I’d recommend it – just go to your favorite team’s page and click on “schedule.”

Here goes – and, shockingly, I’ll sneak in some analysis.  And, one more thing, here’s the key I’ll use to shorten team names:

Chicago Fire: CF
Chivas USA: CUSA
Colorado Rapids: CR
Columbus Crew: Crew (don’t ask)
DC United: DCU
FC Dallas: FCD
Houston Dynamo: HD
Kansas City Wizards: KC
Los Angeles Galaxy: LA
New England Revolution: NE
Red Bull New York: RBNY
Real Salt Lake: RSL
Toronto FC: TFC

Right…now, here goes:

Chicago Fire (7 games)
RBNY (9/15); @ FCD (9/20); DCU (9/23); @ CUSA (9/29); NE (10/6); @ DC (10/13); LA (10/21)
Rundown: Fire_Juve10 had it right: between DC and the Revs fighting it out for the Supporter’s Shield and trying to stay in the top two, this schedule sucks.  Add Chivas and FC Dallas on the road and that’s five-for-seven sucking.
Key game(s): I’m going with the first two; if they can head into “the shit” – e.g. the bit that begins with hosting DC – feeling strong, they could maintain.

Chivas USA (8 games)
LA (9/13); @ CR (9/16); KC (9/22); CF (9/29); @ RSL (10/6); @ FCD (10/11); CR (10/14); HD (10/20)
Rundown: Those five games, and who they’re against, makes things look pretty smooth for Chivas.  They’ll have to fuck up royal to miss one of the top two seeds in the West.
Key game(s): If Chivas can knock off Colorado on the road this weekend, they’re in for a shout with the Supporters’ Shield.

Colorado Rapids (6 games)
CUSA (9/16); @ RSL (9/22); @ NE (9/29); TFC (10/7); @CUSA (10/14); RSL (10/20)
Rundown: The small number of games stands as the biggest obstacle for the Rapids.  They really should pick up 12 of the 18 available, but I wouldn’t bet on them doing it – especially with RSL eager to serve up the cold, cold plate of revenge.
Key game(s): With the need for points at a premium, I’m thinking the game at Rice-Eccles has a make-or-break feel.

Columbus Crew (6 games)
@ KC (9/15); @ TFC (9/22); LA (9/30); FCD (10/6); @ NE (10/13); @ DC (10/20)
Rundown: Those first four games mean things don’t look so bad for the Crew.  The key is picking up as many points through there so as not to stumble at the two final hurdles.
Key game(s): The first four are genuinely winnable, but the first looms largest; start off wrong and recovering becomes that much harder.

DC United (6 games + what the? exhibitions….why Guadalajara?  Why now?)
RSL (9/12); @ CF (9/23); TFC (9/29); @ KC (10/5); CF (10/13); Crew (10/20)
Rundown: All right.  Who’s the asshole that gave these guys four of six games at home to end the year?  Even allowing for letdowns, this is, frankly, a cream-puff schedule.  Pipping these cats for the Supporters’ Shield is going to take something.
Key game(s): The two against the Fire; I’m guessing Chicago’s style will frustrate DC and generally get in their heads.

FC Dallas (7 games + US Open Cup final on 10/3)
@ NE (9/15); CF (9/20); @ LA (9/23); HD (9/30); @ Crew (10/6); CUSA (10/11); KC (10/20)
Rundown: My advice to Dallas: aim for the Open Cup, boys, your schedule friggin’ sucks!  There are too many hungry teams in there.  Dallas will make the playoffs, but…yikes.
Key game(s): Sheesh.  Part of me thinks they need to pick up a hard one to have a shot at stopping Chivas, but I just can’t see them doing it on this schedule.  So….I guess beating Houston at home tops my list; heading into the post-season in second would help a lot…and Houston’s schedule helps there.

Houston Dynamo (5 games)
@ LA (9/16); @ FCD (9/30); LA (10/7); @ RSL (10/15); @ CUSA (10/20)
Rundown: The hardest thing here is the comparatively small number of games; that shrinks the margin of error a bit.  The best thing?  The opposition.  Even as they’re improving, both LA and RSL will struggle to score on Houston – and it’s hard to lose when the other team can’t score.  And Houston has owned Dallas since the former came into MLS.
Key game(s): I’m not seeing much in the way of excuses for Houston.  Take away Chivas and they’ve got it easy.

Kansas City Wizards (6 games)
Crew (9/15); @ CUSA (9/22); LA (9/27); DC (10/5); @ RBNY (10/13); @ FCD (10/20)
Rundown: If KC was anything less than five points over the playoff drop-off, I’d seriously wonder about how they’d make it; even with it, I’m not sure they’re up for it.  Easy games hardly abound; given KC’s defense, I think even LA could nail ‘em if they’re napping.
Key game(s): The Crew at home…that’s huge.  Beating RBNY would be good too, if for no better reason than to break the curse.

Los Angeles (10 (frickin’) games)
@ CUSA (9/13); HD (9/16); @ RSL (9/19); FCD (9/23); @ KC (9/27); @ Crew (9/30); @ HD (10/7); TFC (10/13); RBNY (10/18); @ CF (10/21)
Rundown: It’s not till you see it laid out that you realize how fucking nuts this schedule really is.  I mean, I’ve made better decisions on mushrooms: the collective brains behind this evil shit will be lucky if lives aren’t lost – and there’s blood on their hands if there are.  In all seriousness, this is genuinely a black-mark on MLS, one of the purest greed-head decisions in the league’s short history.  Who’s to blame is immaterial: this should never happen again.
Key game(s): The truly horrifying thing: every game is a key game.  LA is only twelve points outside the playoffs and they’ve got 30 points to play for, well within mathematical tolerances.  The sooner they’re out of mathematical range, the better.  The sooner this “Back to Bataan” schedule becomes irrelevant, the better.

New England Revolution (6 games + US Open Cup final of 10/3)

FCD (9/15); @ RBNY (9/22); CR (9/29); @ CF (10/6); Crew (10/13); @ TFC (10/22)
Rundown: Between the six-point edge the Revs hold over New York and the several soft encounters in here, they’re probably safe bet to coast into the post-season.  They won’t want to do that, of course, for fear of hitting the playoffs rusty.  In that sense, this is even a good schedule in that they have a chance to build some confidence.
Key game(s): If I were the Revs, I’d put a premium on tightening up things on both ends, something easier to do against lesser teams.  So, no offense to the following, but the Revs should come out all guns blazing against, Dallas this weekend, the Rapids and Crew at home, and TFC on the road.  The other two, they’ll have to take pretty seriously.

Red Bull New York (6 games)
@ CF (9/15); NE (9/22); RSL (9/29); @ TFC (10/4); KC (10/13); @ LA (10/18)
Rundown: This isn’t bad at all, especially with seven points currently separating New York from irrelevance.  They can’t sleep at the wheel, to be sure, but they can certainly end the season on an up.
Key game(s): The first two.  Maintaining that cushion is crucial.  An early slip and those creeping doubts crawl in like some kind of infection.

Real Salt Lake (8 games)
@ DC (9/12); @ TFC (9/15); LA (9/19); CR (9/22); @ RBNY (9/29); CUSA (10/6); HD (10/15); @ CR (10/20)
Rundown: Aim to spoil, fellas.  Aim that bullseye straight at the Rapids and fuck ‘em HARD for two years of Rocky Mountain Cup pain.
Key game(s): Covered above.  RSL might not be mathematically eliminated, but facing too many teams needing points kills their side of the equation.

Toronto FC (7 games)
RSL (9/15); Crew (9/22); @ DC (9/29); RBNY (10/4); @ CR (10/7); @ LA (10/13); NE (10/20)
Rundown: Ending your expansion year as anything better than the worst team in the league should sound pretty good here.  Naturally, they’ll have to score to make this happen…far from automatic after 732 minutes.
Key game(s): I’d flag the two against RSL and LA, arguably the game against the Crew; that’s how they’ll keep out of last place.

Holy crap….I’m spent.

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