D.C. United's SuperMagic Numbers Keep Changing--for Better or Worse?

The Wooden Spoon winner will be on the MLS SuperDraft clock soon. - Joe Robbins

Chivas and Toronto are doing all they can to challenge D.C. United for next season's #1 overall draft pick. Let's see how this past weekend's games affected the race, and how close the Black-and-Red are now to clinching the top slot.

The race for the SuperTopPick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft continues to trend in D.C. United's favor following this past weekend's games. D.C. United, of course, has had the inside track on the top spot virtually the entire season, but Chivas USA and Toronto FC haven't gone away easily and continue to be in the hunt. As evidence of their persistence in continuing to challenge for the Wooden Spoon, both the Goats and the Reds lost their matches over the weekend. D.C. United lost as well, however, so let's see how these results affected the hometown team's SuperMagic Numbers (which we use to track United's progress in securing next year's top draft pick).

Here's the updated Supporters' Shield table following last weekend's matches:

Team Total Points Games Played Wins Losses Draws Goals Potential Points
New York Red Bulls 51 30 15 9 6 47 63
Seattle Sounders 50 28 15 8 5 38 68
Real Salt Lake 48 30 14 10 6 53 60
Sporting Kansas City 48 29 14 9 6 43 63
Portland Timbers 46 29 11 5 13 45 61
Montreal Impact 45 28 13 9 6 46 63
LA Galaxy 45 29 13 10 6 46 60
Colorado Rapids 45 30 12 9 9 37 57
Houston Dynamo 43 29 12 10 7 37 58
Vancouver Whitecaps 41 29 11 10 8 42 56
San Jose Earthquakes 41 30 11 11 8 31 53
New England Revolution 40 29 11 11 7 41 55
FC Dallas 40 29 10 9 10 40 55
Chicago Fire 39 29 11 12 6 36 54
Philadelphia Union 39 29 10 10 9 37 54
Columbus Crew 38 30 11 14 5 36 50
Chivas USA 26 30 6 16 8 29 38
Toronto FC 23 30 4 15 11 25 35
D.C. United 15 29 3 20 6 19 30

While the "total points" earned to date this season by Chivas, Toronto, and D.C. all stayed the same following their respective losses, the key value is D.C. United's "potential points" (see table above). By falling to the New England Revolution, D.C. United lowered the maximum points they can earn this season to 30 (from 33 last week). As such, United actually put some added distance between themselves and their two bottom table rivals. Since D.C. United's SuperMagic Numbers get lower every time they drop points (through drawing or losing) and/or when Chivas or Toronto gain points (through winning or drawing), this week the SuperMagic Numbers drop by three. As a reminder, when both SuperMagic Numbers reach zero, D.C. United will have secured the 2014 SuperDraft's SuperTopPick.

With five matches left for D.C. United in the 2013 season, here are their updated SuperMagic Numbers:

- SuperMagic Number vs Chivas USA: 5

- SuperMagic Number vs. Tortonto FC: 8

As perhaps one of the few silver linings in this otherwise awful season, securing the SuperTopPick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft gives D.C. United a tangible asset heading into next season. Regular commenter fischy also reminds us of the following additional honors and benefits that accrue to the team that finishes at the bottom of the league table: the top slot in next season's allocation process (for returning US national team players who aren't signed as Designated Players--right Seattle?), the best odds for MLS weighted lotteries early in the 2014 season, and the first pick in some other MLS player distribution processes like the Re-entry Draft and the Waiver Draft (at least at the beginning of next season). What other benefits does the Wooden Spoon holder get, no matter how small?

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