Friday, September 28, 2012

Can Sporting KC Pull Off the U.S. Pro Soccer Trifecta?

No MLS team has won all three titles-the MLS Cup, the U.S. Open Cup and the MLS Supporters' Shield (the MLS regular season title-most points) in the same season.  It is a streak of 16 years, MLS began play in 1996.

Sporting KC may end up chasing U.S. pro Soccer history this season.

One team came close to winning the trifecta.  In 2002, the LA Galaxy won both the MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield and lost in the U.S. Open Cup final to the Columbus Crew.

The MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield have been won in the same year a few times.  As mentioned above, it was done by the Galaxy in 2002 and again last season, in 2011.  D.C. United, like the Green Bay Packers of the NFL's early history, was a dominant team early in MLS history.  They accomplished the feat twice in 1997 and 1999.  The defunct Kansas City Wizards did it in 2000 and the Columbus Crew in their glory year of 2008 also accomplished the feat.

The MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup have been won in the same year only on two occasions, by the Chicago Fire in 1998 and by the LA Galaxy in 2005.

Sporting KC is positioned in 2012 to make a run at all 3 trophies.  They have already won the U.S. Open Cup this season and currently sit second in the regular season race with three games left to play, one at home and two on the road.  Their biggest competition for the regular season, Supporters' Shield title is the San Jose Earthquakes.

With one less game played, the Earthquakes have 60 total points to Sporting's 58.  The Earthquakes play four more games total.  They play two at home and two on the road.

Sporting KC and one of the League's newest and brightest stars put away the Chicago Fire on national Tv Friday night, as Graham Zusi scored two goals in front of a completely enthralled, sold-out crowd.

The question of whether Sporting KC can win the regular season title is one of the best story lines going.  They don't play San Jose, but the teams will be watching each other from a distance, for sure.

It's doubtful Wondolowski and his Quakes teammates will let the Title slip away, but they have the tougher schedule of the two teams.  The Quakes will need to wrap it up before their last match, because it's played in Portland.

The Timbers are definitely not going to the playoffs, so they will play San Jose to the hilt in the last game of the season in front of a boisterous home crowd.

Sporting plays their last match of the season at home against Philadelphia, one of the weakest teams in the League.

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