For any of those that follow MLS even a fraction as much as I have this year you will realize that the MLS cup is upon us. It has been a long road and LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo are about to play each other to see who will win the 2011 MLS Cup. Well obviously from the title of this post it is not about the MLS Cup Final. This post is dedicated to the the game that would of been, had the MLS been doing something similar to the the world cup, between the two teams that lost in the semi-final matches between Houston and LA.
Had there been a third place game then we would of been able to actually watch Sporting Kansas City play against Real Salt Lake. The host would be Real Salt Lake being that they were higher on points over the course of the season with 53 while Sporting had 51 points. Seems like it would be a close match up based off of that and that they split their games when they played each other. Sporting winning at home 2-0 and Real Salt Lake winning at their home 1-0. Some things that greatly start to make a difference is when you look at the Wins, Losses and Draws area. RSL had 15 wins while Sporting had 13. That is still pretty close, but when you look at the losses and draws this is where I start to think it looks a little different. Well not so much in the losses with RSL having 11 and SKC having 9, which favors Sporting, but looking at the draws. RSL had just 8 draws all season and SKC ended up with 12. That is what allowed SKC to be so close to RSL in total points with 51 and 53.
We can't really say that RSL had a harder schedule being in the Western Conference and having to play teams like LA and Seattle two times, because Sporting also had to play each team in the league twice, which is something that will start changing in the upcoming future. Sporting did seem to have the tougher schedule, but a lot of that was on their own doing as well with starting the season with 10 road games before opening up the new stadium. Something that really doesn't look good for Sporting is their away record and only winning 4 games and getting 6 draws of their 17 away games. That is just 18 points out of a total 51 points. Yeah no team is going to get all 51 points, but only four wins I think really hurt SKC in game like this.
RSL is heavily favored at home as they won 10 games of the 17 home games and only lost 3 games at home. They also have a +14 Goal Differential at home while SKC has a -4 Goal Differential. Looking at stats like this does not make it look like a good match up for Sporting, as much as it pains me to say that, and Real Salt Lake would look like a huge favorite to win a match like this, but you never fully know until the game is played and that is why they play the game.