Ah the MLS Supporter's Shield. If the Eurosnobs had their way, it'd be the most important soccer trophy in America, next to the US Open Cup trophy of course. Good thing this blogger has never been accused of being a Eurosnob. No, as I write about the lorry carrying the four horses still in the MLS Cup race, as it goes down the motorway, I will not any sort of Eurosnob talk!
Anyhow, the Galaxy, with their drubbing of Vancouver last week, now sit at 58 points. That's just one point less than the Galaxy finished with last season. Let's just appreciate for a moment how much more competitive MLS is this year. The Galaxy are going to walk clear of 60 points, and still have three teams in the hunt. Incredible.
The Galaxy are seven points clear of Seattle, 10 clear of Real Salt Lake (which still has two games in hand), and 12 points clear of FC Dallas. What the 58 point mark does mean, is that none of the other thirteen MLS teams can catch the Galaxy for the top spot. That's mathematics. It's now a four horse race.
Should the Galaxy win this weekend, or FC Dallas lose, mathematics would eliminate them. A giant plus sign, dressed all in black, would come out of the shadows and assassinate the horse.
The MLS record for points is 68, set by the Galaxy in '98. In order to match that, the Galaxy need three wins and a draw the rest of the way. Anything more than that in the next five games, and the Galaxy set a new MLS record.
Winning the Shield would mean another auto-berth in the Champions League group stages. It would make the Galaxy the frontrunners for the MLS Cup (which is never a good thing, that cup always goes to some terrible team).
So, my friends, this team is poised to finish with more points than last year. With basically the same core, what has changed in these Galaxians that has gotten them to another level in greatness? What have they done differently this year?
That '98 team didn't make the MLS Cup final (back when the MLS playoffs were much more, convoluted, and more teams made the postseason than didn't). Are they the greatest Galaxy team of all time? Does that honor belong to the '02 team, which finished with far fewer points, but had an MVP in Carlos Ruiz, and swept the Supporters Shield and MLS Cup?