This Sunday, all 10 final MLS regular season fixtures take place this Sunday at 9PM BST, and there is a lot to play for. The penultimate weekend answered some questions but also raised many others. Can the MLS cup holder Portland sneak back above the red line? Can Seattle bounce back from the late defeat at FC Dallas, who are also looking to secure the Supporters Shield? Will it be David Villa or Bradley Wright-Phillips for the golden boot? All will be revealed in what promises to be an exhilarating round of matches.
In my excitement (and impatience) I decided to put FIFA 17’s Live Form feature to the test, to simulate all of the round 34 match ups. Now, while this is not a fully realistic predictor in any way, for example line-ups are locked, so the likes of Mauro Diaz (get well soon) will be included, and real-life suspensions will not be reflected either. But it’s FIFA and a bit of fun, right?
Here’s how the simulated matches panned out:-
|Toronto FC||2 v 0||Chicago Fire|
|Vancouver Whitecaps||0 v 1||Portland Timbers|
|LA Galaxy||0 v 1||FC Dallas|
|Orlando City||0 v 0||DC United|
|Sporting Kansas City||1 v 0||San Jose Earthquakes|
|New York City FC||1 v 1||Columbus Crew|
|David Villa (90’)||Higuain (15’)|
|Seattle Sounders||0 v 1||Real Salt Lake|
|Colorado Rapids||1 v 0||Houston Dynamo|
|Doyle (Pen – 44’)|
|Philadelphia Union||0 v 0||New York Red Bulls|
Well, it’s a good job FIFA relies on human interaction for the most part, huh? 10 matches, only 9 goals, and only 1 foul in any of them, which was the Rapids’ solo effort. Not the most exciting predictions for this coming weekend, but it could happen. Let’s take a look at the standings following these results:-
x – Clinched playoff spot
|1||x – New York Red Bulls||55||1.62||34||15||9||10||59||44||15||13-2-2||2-8-7|
|2||x – Toronto FC||53||1.56||34||14||9||11||50||37||13||8-3-6||6-6-5|
|3||x – New York City FC||52||1.53||34||14||10||10||59||57||2||7-3-7||7-7-3|
|4||x – D.C. United||47||1.38||34||11||9||14||51||43||8||9-4-4||2-5-10|
|5||x – Montreal Impact||46||1.35||34||11||10||13||49||50||-1||7-5-5||4-5-8|
|6||x – Philadelphia Union||43||1.26||34||11||13||10||52||53||-1||8-4-5||3-9-5|
|7||New England Revolution||40||1.18||34||10||15||9||41||54||-13||8-4-5||2-10-5|
|8||Orlando City SC||39||1.15||34||8||11||15||51||58||-7||5-4-8||3-7-7|
|9||Columbus Crew SC||37||1.09||34||8||13||13||49||54||-5||6-3-8||2-10-5|
The Eastern conference was pretty much done and dusted last weekend, with other pressing matters such as the Golden Boot, which according to the results, was a tie between Villa and BWP. Toronto FC finished the strongest and overtook NYCFC into 2nd place, stealing the knockout round bye from them. Patrick Vieira’s first season as a coach will still be seen as a success if this happens, despite the obvious disappointment of having to play in the knockout round.
x – Clinched playoff spot
|1||x – FC Dallas||62||1.82||34||18||8||8||51||40||11||12-1-4||6-7-4|
|2||x – Colorado Rapids||60||1.76||34||16||6||12||39||31||8||12-0-5||4-6-7|
|3||x – LA Galaxy||51||1.50||34||12||7||15||54||40||14||8-2-7||4-5-8|
|4||x – Real Salt Lake||49||1.44||34||13||11||10||44||44||0||8-1-8||5-10-2|
|5||x – Sporting Kansas City||47||1.38||34||13||13||8||41||41||0||10-4-3||3-9-5|
|6||x – Portland Timbers||47||1.38||34||13||13||8||48||49||-1||12-3-2||1-10-6|
|7||Seattle Sounders FC||45||1.32||34||13||15||6||42||43||0||9-6-2||4-9-4|
|8||San Jose Earthquakes||38||1.12||34||8||12||14||32||39||-7||7-3-7||1-9-7|
|9||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||36||1.06||34||9||16||9||41||52||-11||5-6-6||4-10-3|
Despite the lack of goals, there was still plenty of drama in the west, and then some. First to fall by the sword was Seattle, who before the Dallas game last weekend were in such a rich vein of form they’d gone from 2nd bottom 3 months ago to as high as 4th, where they finished last season. Here, a disastrous home defeat to Salt Lake and an incredible first away of the season for MLS Cup holders Portland Timbers means a Sounders season that started with so much disappointment, ends as such too. Sporting Kansas City’s single goal secured their playoff berth. This could be interesting as all 3 of those results would be against those respective teams’ form in real life; although my gut tells me Portland could still somehow do it.
At the top, FC Dallas won the battle of the fortress teams at the Stubhub arena to clinch the Supporters Shield, with the Rapids finishing runner up. It’ll be interesting to see if they can pull off this result on Sunday without their maestro Mauro Diaz.
Thank you to www.mlssoccer.com for the original table data, and be sure to tune in for Sunday’s games. Here’s hoping for more goals than you, FIFA 17!