SKC Vies For Supporters’ Shield

2 winnable games remaining in the season put Sporting in contention for Supporters’ Shield honors
by Skylar Rolstad   |   Monday, October 14, 2013

State of SKC - column on Sporting KC (SKC) & the Kansas City soccer scene.

A scoreless draw in Houston for Sporting Kansas City this Wednesday brought the team 1 point behind New York in the Supporters’ Shield race and the Eastern Conference standings.

Sporting were not impressive in the match in Houston, but put in an honest 90 minutes on the road, preserving the draw and improving a stellar away record. Peterson Joseph was much more active in the midfield, and Sporting’s defensive mindset could hold Houston back from scoring, although they did create several chances.

After a spectacular match in Portland that saw the Timbers defeat the Seattle Sounders on Sunday night, 3 points for the Timbers put them level on points with New York in the Supporters’ Shield race. Sporting currently sits in 4th on the single table, behind Portland and New York by 1 point, and level with Real Salt Lake.

In the event of a tie on points, Sporting has the edge over Portland in the 1st tiebreaker, most wins, but are tied with the other 2 teams with 15 wins. Sporting loses the second tiebreaker, goals scored, to all 3 teams. New York, Portland and RSL have scored 50, 49, and 55 goals, respectively. Sporting’s 44 goals scored puts them well behind all 3 other contenders.

So how are Sporting’s chances at winning the Supporters’ Shield this year?

While New York or Portland look poised to take the shield based on the standings at this point, the best projection for which team wins lies in the difficulty of the last 2 games for each team. Of course, that’s never a perfect science, as MLS’ parity makes match predictions simply impossible.

Portland’s Week 33 with Real Salt Lake is pivotal for SKC’s chances. Next weekend, Real Salt Lake will make the trip to JELD-WEN Field for a 3 points that will make or break their Supporters’ Shield campaign. Strangely, both Portland and RSL play Chivas USA in their next match, with RSL playing at home on the next Wednesday and Portland playing their last match of the season at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles.

Both teams will have easy matches for Week 34, making RSL vs. Portland on Oct. 19 the match to watch for Sporting fans. SKC faithful should be rooting for a tie in this one, with a Portland win damning Sporting’s chances for the Supporters’ Shield.

However, here is the good news for Sporting fans.

New York’s schedule is not even close to as manageable as their fellow tabletoppers. The Red Bulls travel to Houston next weekend to take on an always dangerous Dynamo team. For the last game of their regular season in the next weekend, the Red Bulls will play Chicago Fire at Red Bull Arena. It’s unlikely New York takes 6 points from these games, and anything less than 6 would very likely not be enough to stay in front of the Supporters’ Shield race.

Sporting’s remaining 2 games are altogether winnable and leaps and bounds easier than their competitor’s. This weekend’s matchup is at home against worst-in-the-league DC United. Sporting faces DC at home earlier this season and won 1-0 in the 89th minute from a Claudio Bieler goal. Sporting will need to reverse their recent home form to find a result in this game, but it is nevertheless a game they are completely expected to get 3 points from.

Sporting’s final game is the same as their season opener, an away match against Philadelphia Union. The season-opening match ended in a 3-1 win for SKC, with goals from Graham Zusi, Claudio Bieler and Uri Rosell. This time a struggling Philadelphia team is visited by Sporting, who they defeated at Sporting Park at the end of September. Sporting is a whole new team on the road and they should take another 3 points from this game.

If the Red Bulls can be barred from great performances against 2 playoff teams and Real Salt Lake can earn a result in Portland next week, Sporting KC will subsequently control their own destiny in the 2013 Supporters’ Shield race. Given these circumstances but despite them nonetheless, Sporting should simply be expected to take care of their business over the next 2 weeks.

NEXT UP: October 18 – Sporting Kansas City vs. DC United, Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan. 8 p.m. EST, NBC Sports.


Univ. of Kansas
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
AC Milan
A student at the University of Kansas. He writes for the Sporting Kansas City club column for Soccer Newsday and is a regular at Sporting Park. His passion for soccer can best be described as unhealthy.