With more or less than ten matches left in the season for most MLS squads, the playoff picture looks to be as close as ever. Teams 2-7 in the west are separated by three points. So the 7th place team can move into the top 3 in the conference based on points and tiebreakers. The top five teams make the playoff, so for the Rapids to make it they at least need to keep getting draws and ideally sweep at home (four games remaining).
At times during the Barclay's Premier League last season when the Red Devils of Manchester had leads over the field of at least 10 point or more during the last two months, it left me only marginally interested in the league as the outcome was apparent. Sure, it was fun to watch the relegation battles between Wigan, QPR, and Reading and see who was going to make their owners dreams come true. (Cardiff City, Hull Tigers, and Crystal Palace). But having never heard of some of the best players on teams who are playing to stay in the league instead of winning silverware that is meaningful is not stuff that makes for memorable moments. I've re-watched the game between Man City and QPR on the last day of the 2011-12 season several times because one team was playing for a championship and the other relegation. But more often than not the champion is already decided by the last match of the season. That's something that Americans don't like.
So why can't the MLS have the best of both worlds? Having the two bottom teams play a match to stay in the MLS and crowning a champion on the same day? Four weeks of rest and practice to give their best effort to stay in the top-flight in the United States and the MLS Cup decided in the same city on the same day? It is probably a pipe dream as long as the owners have a closed league aka cartel.
With 16 teams still in it and virtually every game left in the season having some meaning in he playoff picture, then I'm not only excited to see how this season plays out but will watch even more MLS coverage on MLS Live, watch NBC Sports' games of the week and, of course, follow the Rapids more avidly. So there are always trade-offs for every sports leagues fanaticism. Parity is best when multiple teams have a chance. This MLS season is the best case scenario for the supporters of the MLS way. There's going to be two good teams in the West that will not be playing playoff soccer. Hopefully the Rapids are not one of them.