COMMENTARY | The 2013 New York Red Bulls are essentially in the semifinal round of a win-or-go-home competition. Sunday night didn't go perfectly for RBNY, but they now know that the Supporters' Shield is theirs to lose.
Portland Timbers defeated rivals Seattle Sounders 1-0 in front of a packed JELD-WEN Field crowd on Sunday night. That result catapulted Portland to a first place tie with New York in the overall Major League Soccer standings. With the Red Bulls on 15 wins and the Timbers on 13, New York are now statistically the only team in control of their Supporters' Shield fate. Real Salt Lake, Sporting Kansas City and Seattle also have 15 wins. RSL and SKC are on 52 points. Seattle have 51. All of the clubs mentioned in this paragraph have thus far played 32 regular season games this season.
New York are away to Houston Dynamo on Sunday, October 20. Houston, not nearly as unbeatable at home this season as they were in 2012, haven't yet guaranteed themselves a spot in the postseason tournament. RBNY host Chicago Fire on Sunday, October 27. Chicago currently hold the fifth and final playoff spot, and it is likely that they will be playing for their playoff lives in the regular season finale.
Kansas City host DC United, the league's worst side, on Friday, October 18. KC will be away to Philadelphia Union, another team attempting to climb into the top five of the conference table, on Saturday, October 26.
Salt Lake and Portland will meet for what will be a massive contest for both sides on Saturday, October 19. RSL will take on Chivas USA on Wednesday, October 23. Portland close things out at lowly Chivas USA on October 26.
Seattle are a very interesting case, as they are free-falling at the worst possible time of the season. The Sounders haven't won in over a month, and it's still mathematically possible that they won't make the playoffs. Seattle are away to disappointing FC Dallas on October 19. They will host defending champions LA Galaxy on the final day of the season.
Of all the clubs mentioned in this piece, only the Red Bulls do not, at this time, have to worry about scoreboard watching. They are two difficult yet very winnable games away from hoisting what would be the first meaningful trophy in the history of the franchise. Win out, New York, and the Supporters' Shield is headed for Harrison, NJ.
We could be roughly three hours of game time away from "That's so Metro" becoming a thing of the past.
Zac has been covering the USMNT, Holland, Tottenham Hotspur, New York Red Bulls, Major League Soccer and other soccer leagues for Yahoo Sports since 2010.
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