Thinking about 60 points seasons / by Harrison Crow

Since the start of the post shoot-out era (2000) there have been four different clubs to reach the 60 point plateau. Three of the four have done it twice. Having a look below you will see the list ordered by year with the total number of points earned  in parentheses.

-2005
  San Jose Earthquakes (64)

- 2011
  LA Galaxy (67)
  Seattle Sounders (63)

- 2012
  San Jose Earthquakes (66)
  Sporting Kansas City (63)

- 2014
  Seattle Sounders (60)
  LA Galaxy (60)

The point being is that when we talk about some of the best clubs assembled in modern MLS history we often refer back to those that have hit or surpassed the 60-point mark.

If you were to open the search up a bit wider and look for club that came close to that mark, with the intention of having just a bit of fun on this subject, there have been a total of eleven clubs, in the same time frame, that have come within a win of 60-points. Thus implying that they might be within the veil of consideration.

Those teams are:
Kansas City Wizards (57), 2000
Chicago Fire (57), 2000
New England Revolution (59), 2005
Columbus Crew (57), 2008
LA Galaxy (59), 2010
DC United (58), 2012
Real Salt Lake (57), 2012
New York Red Bulls (57), 2012
Chicago Fire (57), 2012
New York Red Bulls (59), 2013
Sporting Kansas City (58), 2013

As of today there is only one other club (DC United with 54 points) that with two games left have a chance to jump into the 60 point discussion. Now there is a possibility that happens but it is unlikely considering A) one of the game is on the road and B) they still allow buckets shots every match while still taking fewer than they give up. According to our shots data DC United doesn't have a recipe for long term success. Until they can out-shoot their opponents we'll continue to doubt them.

The real point of this all is just to bring a thought provoking question: which team of those listed above was truly the best? Personally I think the 2011 Galaxy have a good leg to stand on but the 2012 Sporting team was very, very good defensive club and I feel that sometimes gets under-appreciated. There are also the clubs of yesteryear that we forget about and/or can't quite quantify. Two examples are the 2005 San Jose Earthquakes/New England Revolution who were two VERY strong rosters with US Men's National team components. The other side of the coin is how much expansion has helped influence this achievement.

No team had earned more than 60 points until Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA were introduced into the league in 2005 and, previous to this season, no team had ever earned 60 points in a non-expansion season. So does that make some of those team accomplishment mean less, or at least weighted less impressive on the scale? Thinking to the last five seasons it has happened now five times with another seven clubs coming within a few points where prior to the 2010 season it happened once and only four clubs coming within a few points of the mark.

Maybe the 60 point mark means less now. It was once said that 60 points would assure you the Supporter Shield. But after the last five seasons the winners' average point total is above 62 points. Maybe the mark should be adjusted. With an expansion year on the horizon, is 70 out of the question?

These are all the questions in my mind and it's not to take away from the achievements of the clubs before us. Seattle and LA have both been very good this season. The Sounders are in the discussion of whether or not they're a "great team" and LA Galaxy have by far the best goal differential in league history. But the consistency with which teams continue to reach the 60 point mark may signal a new era where the number of points needed to win the Supporter's Shield continue to rise.