The Supporters Shield race is not over – but if this were an American football game, the San Jose Earthquakes would be lining up in “victory” formation, taking a couple of knees before trotting off victoriously.
The Earthquakes have a five-point lead over Sporting Kansas City and a seven-point margin over Chicago. Those are the only teams with any realistic shot at fetching Frank Yallop’s bunch.
Five point leads with four matches remaining can be squandered; we’ve seen it happen before in MLS.
But here’s where the other soccer boot falls: San Jose’s schedule is more favorable than either of those pursuers’. Add it up and, well, Yallop’s men have reason to feel quite well about their position. Here are the current Supporters Shield standings. (Followed by the schedules remaining for each side).
As for the remaining schedules:
You wouldn’t say that San Jose has a clear runway; some tricky matches remain ahead, including this weekend’s contest at home against an FC Dallas team that will be absolutely desperate to keep their name in the playoff conversation.
And a visit from Los Angeles is no easy afternoon, especially considering how well the Galaxy is playing and the rivalry factor attached.
But the Earthquakes have created wiggle room for themselves, doing so most recently with that huge weekend achievement over Seattle. (Which is why we are proclaiming “race over” in the West.)
As for the Supporters Shield (and first dibs on hosting MLS Cup 2012), four more points might just do the trick for the Earthquakes. Six would surely be sufficient.
Ponder that while you look at the rest of the games for each club:
Sporting Kansas City
- At Columbus
- At New York
- At Sporting Kansas City
- At New York
- At New England
- D.C. United
- FC Dallas
- At Colorado
- Los Angeles
- At Portland