The last game of the MLS regular season is Oct. 27. It starts at 9 p.m. Eastern. It will feature the Seattle Sounders and the LA Galaxy. The game will be on ESPN. It will, according to the laws of the game, be played for 90 minutes, plus a few for stoppage time.
By the time the referee blows the whistle, ending those 90-some-odd minutes of play, someone will have won the Supporters' Shield. They have to. I'm pretty sure it's in the rules.
But with the way top teams have been playing, you'd think winning the Shield is a bad thing.
Three teams -- the Montreal Impact, FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake -- have occupied the league's top stop. The Red Bulls have been tied on points, sharing the top spot, but never having it for themselves. Sporting Kansas City has been up there, too, as have the Portland Timbers and, recently, the surging Colorado Rapids. But no one has been able to make the top of the table their own.
The Impact's quick start vaulted them to the top early, with the Montreal side still hoarding games in hand. But they eventually gave way to Dallas, who faded as RSL emerged.
Speaking of RSL, they faced off against the Timbers last night in a game that could've vaulted Portland to the top or given RSL a nice cushion.
True to form, they played to a draw.
For our Red Bulls, a loss to the Columbus Crew and a draw against the Philadelphia Union -- two winnable games -- see the Red Bulls one of four teams within three points of the Shield, along with SKC, the Rapids and the Timbers.
For those of you keeping score at home, more than half the league is within spitting distance of the Shield with less than 10 games left to play.
This makes an interesting race down the stretch, yes, and that'll undoubtedly make Don Garber a happy man. But if past performance is any indication, the Red Bulls -- or whoever else -- just have to beat whoever is in front of them. If they do that it certainly seems like they'll just kinda, sorta end up at the top of the table come season's end.
Sure, it's a bit anti-climactic, but if that happens for the Red Bulls, you won't hear any complaints from me.