Unbalance in the MLS: East vs West

Posted on August 20, 2015 by Felecia Clow | 1 Comment

Results of last week’s MLS match-ups certainly stirred up the standings in the Western Conference. In the shuffle LA Galaxy found its way on top of the west, and a Whitecaps defeat, that would have put Vancouver at the head of the race for the Supporters Shield, saw them pass their crown and step down from the number one seat. One thing that has remained constant however is the undeniable dominance of D.C. United over the Eastern conference.

Currently in the lead for the Supporters Shield (by 1 pt. over L.A.), D.C. has enjoyed a comfortable and virtually uncontested reign over the Eastern MLS Conference. In recent weeks the NY Red Bulls have begun to make a steady climb, but they still have a ways to go as they remain 5 points (or at least 2 winning matches) short of catching up to the long standing leader. In fact the five point gap is nothing compared to earlier disparities, at one point D.C. United sat cushioned with 10 pts between itself and the next closest contender in the Eastern Conference and I'd doubt they intend to give up their seat anytime soon.

The battle in the west has been a completely different story. The largest point differential in the top 5 Western Conference clubs is 2 pts, and the others sit with but one mere point between them and the next closest club making every match all the more crucial. Without question the competition is much more heated in the west. Though D.C. currently sits at the top of the overall MLS standings, it does raise the question of whether their command is because they truly are the best team in the MLS at this time, or is there an imbalance of talented clubs depending on the Conference you compete in? Essentially is competing with clubs in the west more difficult that, competition in the east?

Taking a look into the overall standings might give us a better look into things, the top 10 clubs in the MLS in order are as follows:

1.) DC United 44pts (east)
2.) LA Galaxy 43pts (west)
3.) Whitecaps FC 42pts (west)
4.) Sporting KC 40pts (west)
5.)New York Red Bulls 39pts (east)
6.) Portland Timbers 39pts (west)
7.) FCDallas 38pts (west)
8.) Sounders FC 35pts (west
9.) Columbus Crew 34pts (east)
10.) NE Revolution 34pts (east)

Things to note:

  • 60% of top 10 teams are from west
  • 40% top 10 teams from east
  • Total pts from top 3 East Clubs= 117 pts
  • Total pts from top 3 West Clubs= 129 pts
  • Point differential between top 3 east/west teams= 12 pts
  • 6 of top 8 teams or 75% are from west
  • 80% or 4:5 of the bottom 5 teams are from the east

In past seasons the Western Conference has without a doubt been more successful. It is also worth mentioning that the east is the home of two brand new 2015 expansion clubs that have not had the opportunity to fully get on their feet in the league. Whether there actually are currently advantages to playing in the East over the West remains to be seen, and over time as will all sporting world talent will shift and move tipping the scales for some time in one area before moving to the next, but it is interesting to consider. 

Posted in east vs west, eastern conference, MLS, MLS cup, supporters shield, west vs east, western conference



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