Red Line Report - DL image

FC Dallas tasted glory on Tuesday night, winning the US Open Cup for the first time since 1997 by beating the New England Revolution 4-2 at Toyota Stadium.


But last Saturday night against the Colorado Rapids, the result was not as sweet. Thanks to a 52nd minute Dominique Badji goal, the Rapids upset Dallas 1-0, handing Oscar Pareja's team their first loss at home in over a year.


Unfortunately for Dallas, they were actually the better team on the day, per OptaPro's expected goals model. According to that, Dallas were expected to score .98 goals based on their shots and the Rapids were at .24. 


You can check out all the weekend's matches and the expected goals figures in the graphic below. They are some interesting numbers in there, including the fact that Montreal outplayed Philadelphia and Vancouver had only slightly better chances than Columbus.


Green denotes that the xG Score matches up with the result. Red denotes it doesn't match with the result.

Red Line Report: Rapids draw closer to Shield, Jozy Altidore leading TFC - https://league-mp7static.mlsdigital.net/images/MLS-weekend-xG.jpg

Their result against Colorado brought FC Dallas back to the pack in the race for the Supporters' Shield. They had been given a 72 percent chance to win the Shield prior the game by ESPN's Soccer Power Index. Now the race looks to involve at least three more teams (Colorado, Toronto, LA).


Colorado have the second highest points per game in MLS despite the fact that Jermaine Jones has only played one game since May 21. In the eight games he has started the Rapids are undefeated, going 5-0-3. This is also reflected in the expected goal difference with and without the US national team player. OptaPro has the Rapids with a plus .42 xGD with Jones in the lineup and a -.37 xGD without him.


Toronto FC are set to take on the New York Red Bulls on Sunday (5 pm ET; FOX, FOX Sports GO in US | TSN2 in Canada), who happen to be right behind them in the Eastern Conference standings. Toronto will be facing the Red Bulls with a striker who has been on fire since returning from injury.


Jozy Altidore has scored in five of his last six games and is actually outperforming his expected goals figure. Based on the non-penalty chances he has gotten this season, Altidore would be expected to score 3.77 goals. He currently sits at six, meaning he's outperforming his xG by 2.23 goals. He will hope to continue this form when going up against the easiest schedule left for any team in MLS.


If the regular season ended today ...


Eastern Conference Playoff Bracket


Conference Semifinals


1. Toronto FC


Conference Semifinals


2. New York Red Bulls




Knockout Round


3. New York City FC


VS.


6. Orlando City SC


Knockout Round


4. Philadelphia Union


VS.


5. Montreal Impact


Western Conference Playoff Bracket


Conference Semifinals


1. FC Dallas


Conference Semifinals


2. LA Galaxy




Knockout Round


3. Colorado Rapids


VS.


6. Portland Timbers


Knockout Round


4. Real Salt Lake


VS.


5. Sporting Kansas City


Strength of Schedule and Expected Points


The strength of schedule metric takes into account the average points per game (PPG) that each team's opponents earn at home and on the road. The lower the PPG, the easier the schedule.


For example, if FC Dallas traveled to play the LA Galaxy, who have averaged 2.5 PPG at home, and then hosted the Vancouver Whitecaps, who have averaged 1.53 PPG on the road, their opponents' PPG would be 2.02. The higher the PPG, the more difficult a team's remaining schedule.


The Expected Points metric is strictly based off of what teams have done up to this point. For example, New York City FC have collected 1.64 points per game at home this season and 1.40 on the road. So if they continue averaging those totals, with five more home games left and four more road games, they would be expected to collect 51.73 points.


Here are both the Strength of Schedule and Expected Points rankings for each conference:

Red Line Report: Rapids draw closer to Shield, Jozy Altidore leading TFC - https://league-mp7static.mlsdigital.net/images/East-SOS-9-14.jpg
TEAM
EXPECTED POINTS
Toronto FC
57.38
New York Red Bulls
52.46
New York City FC
51.73
Philadelphia Union
47.52
Montreal Impact
46.14
Orlando City SC
41.29
D.C. United
40.07
New England Revolution
38.05
Chicago Fire
32.04
Columbus Crew SC
31.17
Red Line Report: Rapids draw closer to Shield, Jozy Altidore leading TFC - https://league-mp7static.mlsdigital.net/images/West-SOS-9-14.jpg
TEAM
EXPECTED POINTS
FC Dallas
59.18
Colorado Rapids
58.75
LA Galaxy
54.56
Real Salt Lake
52.30
Sporting Kansas City
45.01
Portland Timbers
43.55
San Jose Earthquakes
40.91
Seattle Sounders
40.91
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
40.15
Houston Dynamo
33.35