Carlos Vela -- El Trafico -- Between Galaxy defenders
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Can anyone catch LAFC in Supporters' Shield race? Here are four contenders

After 15 weeks of the Major League Soccer regular season, LAFC have set themselves apart from the pack in the Supporters’ Shield race.

LAFC are the clear favorites right now with FiveThirtyEight listing Bob Bradley’s squad as 85 percent likely to win their first hardware.

But, as in any race, other teams are in the picture and, in the unlikelihood that LAFC slip up, here are a few of the other contenders to lift the shield.

Atlanta United

FiveThirtyEight: 4 percent

Remember them? The team that led in this race for most of the 2018 season before the New York Red Bulls passed them in the stretch drive.

The Five Stripes are currently sixth in the race with 26 points, 11 points behind LAFC. Atlanta United had early struggles under new coach Frank de Boer, but they’ve won seven of their last nine.

After a slow start, Josef Martinez has five goals in his last three games and Pity Martinez is getting more and more comfortable in his new surroundings with every game played.

Perhaps most impressive is that Atlanta are a better defensive team at this point than last year. They have eight clean sheets from all eight wins.

LA Galaxy

FiveThirtyEight: 2 percent

After 16 games, the LA Galaxy trail their crosstown rivals by nine points and its been a rollercoaster season in Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s first season at the helm. After six wins in seven undefeated to start the season, the Galaxy lost four straight as LAFC extended their lead in the West.

There’s two big reasons to think the Galaxy have a puncher’s chance though — Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the fact that they have the most possible points to make up (six from two El Trafico regular season meetings) than any other contender.

Remember too, LAFC have yet to beat the Galaxy, who rallied for a dramatic 4-3 win on Ibrahimovic’s debut and from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw.

New York City FC

FiveThirtyEight: 2 percent

Yeah, NYCFC didn’t win their first game until a month and a half into the season, but they’ve also lost just once — the only other team with one loss are the Shield leaders. Dome Torrent’s change in formation, along with more familiarity among the front six, have made NYCFC a contender.

Those early draws have turned into wins and NYCFC have a league-best 10 match unbeaten streak. A year after serious struggles away from home, the Cityzens are 3-0-3 in their last six road games.

Philadelphia Union

FiveThirtyEight: 2 percent

The Philadelphia Union have a four-point lead in the Eastern Conference and have lost just one of their last 10 games, winning six of those.

Their last win was their most impressive, rallying from a two-goal halftime deficit to defeat the New York Red Bulls, 3-2. It was a clear announcement of the Union’s intentions for the rest of the season.


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