After crushing Houston 3-0 on Saturday, Sporting Kansas City can be found somewhere that just about nobody expected to find them -- on top of the Eastern Conference. The goal glut also pulls them level with Seattle for the league lead in goals scored with 43.
Thanks to a fortuitous result in Columbus (Toronto beat the Crew 4-2 to earn its first road win of the season!), KC and Columbus are level on points in the East.
The last time Kansas City could look down from the top of the table was 2004 -- when KC finished the regular season as the best team in the West. (Somewhat ironically, that year, KC wound up tied with Columbus for most points in the league with 49.)
With 28 games played, Sporting has 40 points and a goal differential of +7. With 27 games played, Columbus has 40 points and a goal differential of -1.
These two teams, of course, play an absolutely, unbelievably important tilt on Sept. 28 at Livestrong Sporting Park.
To put Sporting's position into perspective: On the morning of June 9, before the opening of Livestrong Sporting Park, KC was 1-6-3 with 12 goals scored and 19 goals allowed languishing in last place.
Today, that record is 10-8-10 with 43 goals scored and 36 allowed. Yes, Sporting have scored 31 goals in a mere three months.
The 40-40 club is rather exclusive this year -- Only Seattle and Los Angeles have more than 40 points and 40 goals.
The last time Sporting finished a seasonwith more than 40 points
was 2008; the last time they finished a seasonwith more than 40 goals
was 2007.**This was also the last time that KC averaged more than 1.23 goals per game. 2011: 1.54. 2010: 1.2. 2009: 1.1. 2008: 1.23. 2007: 1.5.
The rest of the East shakes out this way: Philadelphia is third (36 points from 27 games), Houston slips to fourth (35 points from 28 games), DC holds fifth (34 points from just 25 games) and New York is down in sixth (33 points from 27 games).
If the playoffs started today: Columbus would win the East, KC would be second and Philly would get the last automatic qualifier. Out West, Los Angeles would top the West (and are the only team to secure a playoff spot already) with Seattle and Dallas as the other two automatic qualifiers. The wild cards would be (in order) Real Salt Lake, Colorado, Houston and D.C. United.