Looking Ahead to the Rest of the MLS Season

July 21, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Chivas have work to do this season. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Chivas USA were handed a tough loss last night to their archrivals, and it never feels good to see a result like that. But Chivas have 15 more matches, including another to the LA Galaxy, coming up this season. They are currently hanging on the edge of the playoff spots, and while there's a gap between them and the Galaxy in fifth place in the Western Conference, they have time to make up the deficit, so long as they can actually get results in those final 15 matches. Sure, it's probably safe to assume they won't win all 15, as great as that would be, but they do need to do work to get to that 46 point mark (which is the estimated benchmark to make the playoffs). They are halfway there, but unquestionably they need to improve their form if they are to make the dream of getting back into the postseason a reality.

With that, let's look at the teams Chivas have yet to play, how they've done against those teams already in 2012, and the current position in the table for all of those clubs.

Team Games left vs. Chivas Chivas' points so far Position in standings
San Jose Earthquakes 2 1 1st/West
Seattle Sounders 2 1 3rd/West
Colorado Rapids 2 0 7th/West
FC Dallas 2 1 8th/West
Real Salt Lake 1 3 2nd/West
Vancouver Whitecaps 1 1 4th/West
D.C. United 1 N/A 4th/East
LA Galaxy 1 3 5th/West
Columbus Crew 1 N/A 6th/East
New England Revolution 1 N/A 8th/East
Portland Timbers 1 6 9th/West

As you can see, Chivas have taken 16 points against their remaining opposition this season. That's out of a possible 36 points, or 44 percent overall. To make the 46 point benchmark for the season, teams need to obtain about 45 percent of the total points on the season, so Chivas are just a hair below that pace. Despite sometimes dire showings, Chivas are not in a terrible position overall. But eight of the remaining matches come against teams in a better position in their respective conference standings than Chivas, so they will need to play above their place in the standings on multiple occasions to increase their chances of making the postseason, on top of taking as many points from lower-table teams as possible.

By way of contrast, here's how Chivas has done against teams they've already finished playing in 2012:

Team Chivas' points in 2012 Position in standings
New York Red Bulls 1 1st/East
Sporting Kansas City 0 2nd/East
Houston Dynamo 0 3rd/East
Chicago Fire 0 5th/East
Montreal Impact 3 7th/East
Philadelphia Union 0 9th/East
Toronto FC 3 10th/East

As we see from this table, Chivas hasn't performed very well against Eastern Conference opposition overall this season, taking seven points out of a possible 21. That means they've only taken 33 percent of the possible points against these teams this season, which makes the work to do over the final 15 games that much more difficult. Over the first 19 games this year, Chivas have picked up about 40 percent of the possible points. To get to 46 points by the end of the season, they need to get at least 51 percent of the remaining points.

All in all, hope should still be alive, but Chivas do need to improve over the second half of the season, rather than regress badly like they did in 2011. A strong finish is needed - can the team fulfill their potential?

What do you think? Leave a comment below!

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