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Standings Update - 7/21

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Adjusting for different numbers of games played among Western Conference opponents, let's see where the Timbers stand in their quest to make the MLS Playoffs.

Otto Greule Jr

We've finally reached the halfway point of the season!

Well, the Western Conference as a whole, anyway. While most teams, including the Portland Timbers, have been at or above the 17-game mark for a couple weeks now, the LA Galaxy finally got in an extra game and we can now actually look at the standings at the midway point of the 2014 campaign.

Theoretical Standings after exactly 17 games played by each team:

  1. SEA - 35 pts.
  2. RSL - 28 pts.
  3. LA - 27 pts.
  4. COL - 26 pts.
  5. VAN - 25 pts.
  6. DAL - 22 pts.
  7. CHV - 20 pts.
  8. POR - 20 pts.
  9. SJ - 17 pts.

There's nothing much new here for Timbers fans. Chivas and San Jose may have swapped spots, but just like the last time we checked in, Portland are tied on points for 7th in the West but the first tiebreaker (wins) sees them slipping to the eighth spot.

A few thoughts:

  • FC Dallas are the mirage this season. They got off to a good start and they've played more games than most other teams, so they've been above the red line since opening day. But, they've done no better than 4th in these "theoretical" standings, and even though they show up 2nd (!) in the current table at the time of this writing, they're likely going to experience a steep decline when other teams start making up games.
  • Remember all that talk from Caleb Porter about needing 50 or 51 points to make the playoffs? Well, that looks spot on at this point. The 5th place squad, Vancouver, is sitting on 25 points halfway through the season so getting to 50 sure looks like the benchmark. We should keep in mind that most of the games against Eastern Conference teams have been played already, so teams in the West will be stealing points from each other a bit more down the stretch and the magical red line could dip down into the 40s.
  • Seattle are running away with things, but spots 2-5 could be really fun to watch towards the end, especially if Dallas, Chivas, or Portland put together a good stretch of games and get themselves into the mix.