NEW YORK – The Supporters’ Shield race heads into the final weekend of the regular season with Real Salt Lake (55 points) looking to catch the LA Galaxy (56 points) for the best record in MLS.
Defending MLS Cup champions Real Salt Lake travel to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday to face the Colorado Rapids and the Galaxy will know that result before hosting FC Dallas in the final game of the MLS regular season on Sunday.
There is one scenario that can see both sides finish tied on points at 56, in which case tiebreakers will be necessary: head-to-head match-ups, goal differential and goals scored.
The Galaxy and RSL, who also met in the 2009 MLS Cup final, split the two matches of the 2010 regular season with each team winning at home. However, RSL’s league-low 18 goals allowed gives them a superior goal differential of plus-25 compared to plus-17, heading into the final weekend.
The Supporters’ Shield race has finished tied on points in three previous seasons. In 2000, Kansas City’s superior goal differential (plus-18 vs. plus-16) won out over the Chicago Fire. The Men in Red would miss out on the trophy the following season as well with the Miami Fusion’s two regular-season victories over Chicago taking the Supporters’ Shield trophy to South Florida.
On the third occasion, the third tiebreaker was necessary to decide the Supporters’ Shield winner. In 2004, the Columbus Crew and Kansas City Wizards, tied on 49 points, split the season series and shared a goal differential of plus-8. However, the Crew tallied twice more than the Wizards (40 vs. 38) to give them the regular-season crown.
Only once has the Supporters’ Shield been decided by a single point. Last year the Crew clinched the honor with a weekend remaining in the regular season but saw their four-point lead reduced to one after a Galaxy victory coupled a Crew loss to end the 2009 campaign.
This year the team that captures the Supporters’ Shield for the best record in MLS will also be rewarded with the Western Conference regular-season title and home-field advantage in a potential Western Conference Championship match.
ALL-TIME SUPPORTERS’ SHIELD WINNERS & RUNNERS-UP
2009: Columbus Crew – 49 pts (Runners-Up: LA Galaxy – 48 pts)
2008: Columbus Crew – 57 pts (Runners-Up: Houston Dynamo – 51 pts)
2007: D.C. United – 55 pts (Runners-Up: Chivas USA – 53 pts)
2006: D.C. United – 55 pts (Runners-Up: Dallas Burn – 52 pts)
2005: SJ Earthquakes – 64 pts (Runners-Up: NE Revolution – 59 pts)
2004: Columbus Crew – 49 pts (Runners-Up: KC
Wizards – 49 pts) ***Goals Scored
2003: Chicago Fire – 5 3pts (Runners-Up: SJ Earthquakes – 51 pts)
2002: LA Galaxy – 51pts (Runners-Up: SJ Earthquakes – 45pts)
2001: Miami Fusion – 53 pts (Runners-Up: Chicago
Fire – 53 pts) ***Head-to-Head
2000: KC Wizards – 57 pts (Runners-Up: Chicago Fire
– 57 pts) ***Goal Differential
1999: D.C. United – 57 pts (Runners-Up: LA Galaxy – 54 pts)
1998: LA Galaxy – 68 pts (Runners-Up: D.C. United – 58 pts)
1997: D.C. United – 55 pts (Runners-Up: KC Wizards – 49 pts)
1996: Tampa Bay Mutiny – 58 pts (Runners-Up: LA Galaxy – 49 pts)