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With two games remaining, Sporting Kansas City will have to win out as well as rely on some unusual allies in order to sneak past San Jose to win this title for the first time since 2000.
They are cutting it close, but Sporting KC still has an outside shot of winning this year's Supporters' Shield for having the most points in the MLS. Currently sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings with 59 points, they sit five points behind the MLS-leading San Jose Earthquakes. Both teams have two matches remaining.
Sporting KC will need to win both of their matches--they face off against the New York Red Bulls in New York on October 20th before finishing the season at home against the Philadelphia Union on the 24th--and the Earthquakes will have to lose both of theirs if Sporting KC is to overtake them for the title.
If the Earthquakes draw in one of their matches, they will automatically win the Supporters' Shield by virtue of their insurmountable lead in the primary tiebreaker category of goals scored. San Jose has scored 69 goals, while Sporting KC has only scored 40.
Sporting KC's position is precarious at best. While they have had success against their remaining opponents--a win and a draw against New York, and a win and a loss against Philadelphia--there is nothing they can do about San Jose's remaining matches.
San Jose will first face the L.A. Galaxy--whom they have defeated in both of their previous match-ups this season--at home on October 21st before finishing the season on the road against the lowly Portland Timbers on the 27th.
In an odd twist, however, Sporting KC's hopes might actually rest with the Timbers, who have defeated and drawn with the Earthquakes in their previous matches this season.
If Sporting KC can string together two more strong performances--and their current 11-game unbeaten streak suggests they can--and if the Earthquakes stumble against the Galaxy, the Timbers will hold the key to Sporting KC's title hopes.
This would be Sporting KC's second-ever Supporters' Shield title. Their first came in 2000, the same year they won their only MLS Cup.