The Western Conference in MLS had a new look this season, as Sporting KC and the Houston Dynamo moved over from the East, while Chivas USA folded.
Four teams’ seasons came to an end yesterday, with the biggest story being Real Salt Lake, who had their seven-year playoff streak snapped.
[ MORE: Eastern Conference wrap-up ]
Below, we take a look at the bottom four from the West, who will be watching the postseason from home.
San Jose Earthquakes
Final position: 7th
Points out of the playoffs: 4
Verdict: After winning the Supporters’ Shield in 2012, the Earthquakes miss out on the playoffs for the third straight season. However, 2015 is far from a disappointment as manager Dominic Kinnear led the team to a 17-point improvement in his first year in charge. After finishing 20 points out of the playoff race with just six wins last season, this was an amazing turnaround, as they were still in the running on Decision Day. Their new Avaya Stadium averaged nearly 21,000 supporters per match, so things are looking up in San Jose.
Final position: 8th
Points out of the playoffs: 9
Verdict: Owen Coyle came in to manage with high hopes, but is was a case of new conference, same problems. Houston played this season in the West for the first time since 2010, but they got similar results as 2015 was another eighth place finish. The road woes continued, as the Dynamo had a 2-10-5 away record, the worst record in the conference. The only team in MLS with fewer road wins was Chicago, who didn’t win a single match away from home. Defense was also another major issue, as Houston finished with the most goals conceded in their conference for the second straight season. To make matters worse, they lost all three matches to in-state rivals FC Dallas.
Real Salt Lake
Final position: 9th
Points out of the playoffs: 10
Verdict: Ouch. After finishing in the top three in the West each of the past five seasons, RSL saw a 15-point drop-off from last year and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Their goal differential fell from +15 to -10, as RSL’s 38 goals scored were the second-fewest in Major League Soccer. Kyle Beckerman & Co. lost 11 matches away from home, as there will be a lot of offseason questions to be answered.
Final position: 10th
Points out of the playoffs: 14
Verdict: The Rapids actually improved by five points this season, but had the worst-finish in franchise history sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference. Their 33 goals on the season were the fewest in MLS, as the team many expected to finish poorly did just that. Pablo Mastroeni is a legendary player in Rapids history, but in his two seasons as manager, the team has been one of the worst in the league.