Well it was an interesting weekend for Major League Soccer, I thought a couple of teams really stepped up their game but at the top the teams were anything but impressive.
18. Toronto FC - even
Another week, another embarrassing loss for the Reds, they got out played and out classed in every way by Seattle and they find themselves at the bottom of the MLS goal differential with a -6 (same for DC United) and while most of us knew this would be a huge rebuilding project this year, I don't know if any of us expected it to be this bad. One has to wonder how their fans will react on Saturday as they will face an improving Houston Dynamo team? It could get ugly at BMO Field
17. Vancouver Whitecaps - even
Well after an opening day win over TFC, the Whitecaps have looked much more like an expansion team, they are entertaining at home (not good but entertaining) and awful on the road. They got out everythinged by the Crew this weekend, and managed to make the Crew (my vote for most boring team in MLS) look dynamic. Oh maybe when they get their "DP/Badboy: Eric Hassli back from his 3rd suspension of the season they will be able to put up a fight this weekend when they head to Chicago to take on the Fire.
the rest after the jump:
16. DC United - down 3
Well the wheels are almost off and while I think the wrong move would be to toss Ben Olsen under the bus, I have a feeling unless things change quickly that is exactly what Kevin Payne and crew will do. DC United once again this year find themselves in the position of giving up the most goals in MLS (16 in 7 matches), at least this year they have some offense with Charlie Davies, but his league leading 5 goals have gotten a boost from 3 scored from the PK spot. They have a tough week as they will play host to Seattle on Wednesday, and FC Dallas on Saturday, you have to think that someone has to step up.
15. Chicago Fire - up 2
Well the Fire benefit from some other teams having awful weeks, plus a draw on the road against the defending MLS Cup champs has to be worth something. For me it was nice to see Marco Pappa step up this weekend, but this team still clearly has some real issues to deal with as the season progresses. They should have a chance to get some worked out this weekend as they will play host to the Vancouver Whitecaps, nothing like beating up on an expansion team to build some confidence.
14. Sporting KC - up 1
You know they lost at New York but I moved them up, they played well and for the first time all year looked like a team that can play some defense and work together. The road warriors of MLS actually took more shots than the Red Bulls did, but could only get 2 of 13 on goal. They didn't get overwhelmed by the Red Bulls, and this will be one rematch I will be looking forward to later in the year. A week off for SKC, but on the 14th they will head to the Home Depot Center to face the LA Galaxy in what will be another big test for them.
13. San Jose Earthquakes - down 2
If I had to pick a disappointment of the season it would be the Quakes, I doubt that the huge lineup changes will end with their 1-0 loss at Philly. I thought that Simon Dawkins and Bobby Convey would add some real spark to this team, but their are clearly more issues than one would notice at first glance. San Jose is off this weekend, so they have 10 days to figure something out, because as they stand today they are going nowhere fast.
12. New England Revolution - down 2
They may be 2-3-3 in the standings but they looked like another team going nowhere fast as they got beat by Chivas USA 3-0 I really thought the two new faces on the pitch for New England would help them out, but that clearly wasn't the case this weekend. Maybe they can help out when the Rev's play host to the Rapids on Saturday, a win or result against the defending MLS Cup champs could be a real pick me up for New England.
11. Portland Timbers - up 3
It appears that the Timbers have figured out how to play defense, and that could be a really good thing for them as the season progresses. It was a Kenny Cooper goal that was the difference in their 1-0 win over RSL on Saturday, a match where they took advantage of a couple of guys playing out of position and the general state of depression that dominated the first half for RSL. The second half saw RSL wake up, but the Timbers played defend and counter style in that second half, it wasn't the most entertaining footy, but it was very effective. Next up for the Timbers is a visit from Philly Union on Friday night, should be another big test for the boys in green.
10. Chivas USA - up 2
Well two weeks and two wins are enough to move you up into the top 10 as Robin Fraser appear to have his team playing above expectations. After scoring just 5 goals in their first 6 matches, they exploded for a 3-0 win over New England this weekend. Nick LaBrocca and Marcos Mondaini both got their first goals of the season, while Alejandro Moreno got his third of the season. They will get a big test this weekend as they come to Rio Tinto Stadium to face Real Salt Lake in a rare day game in Utah. Time for a 2005 expansion team derby match.
9. FC Dallas - even
So many people are doubting Brek Shea's shot that found the back of the net was really a shot, but why would you, the kid is talented and while he has been sent to the back line, it is clear that when given a chance he is going to make a go at goal. Not sure who was the better team on Sunday at Pizza Hut Park, but in the end it was a much needed 2-1 win for FC Dallas over the Galaxy. Mother nature gets the assist as the match was delayed an hour for a storm to past. Now can the Hoops build on this win when they head to RFK for a showdown with DC United on Saturday?
8. Columbus Crew - even
The Crew won their match with the Whitecaps 2-1, they were clearly the better team, but still after watching the match I couldn't find enough to move them in front of any of the teams above them. It was nice to see Emillio Renteria get his first and second goals of the season, and I really did think that Jeff Cunningham would get a goal after coming on with just 12 minutes left to play. We should find out how good the Crew are as they will play host to the Seattle Sounders on Saturday.
7. Colorado Rapids - down 1
The Rapids were able to come back from a first half Chicago goal by Marco Pappa, with a Andre Akpan goal (his first in MLS) to tie the score at 1-1. The Rapids were the better team for most of the match but were unable to get a game winner at home as they now sit at 3-3-1. They will need to find a way to do better if they want to move back up the rankings, they get two chances away from Colorado this week, first a Wednesday match at Houston and then Saturday at New England.
6. Houston Dynamo - up 1
The Dynamo looked like they were playing against the DC United reserves, as this was a ugly match as Houston were able to simply dominate the match. Rookie Will Bruin stepped up and got the hat trick as he looked like he might be the real deal, he will get two chances this week to prove it as Houston will host the Rapids on Wednesday and then they will head to Canada for a match against TFC at BMO field on Saturday.
5. LA Galaxy - down 1
Well after an hour delay the Galaxy found themselves victim of Brek Shea (you know the defender) who hit one of the best chip shots of all time. I though LA was the better team in the match but they were unable to finish their chances and in the end they allowed Dallas to get the winning goal quickly after the restart of the lightning delayed match, the question is can they rebound at home when they face off against New York on Saturday night?
4. Seattle Sounders - up 1
If there was a team that looked impressive on the weekend it was the Sounders, but beating up on TFC is seeming more like a match against Sister Mercy School of the blind. It was nice to see that Brad Evans was a part of all 3 of the Sounders goals, talk about a guy stepping up. The Sounders have simply gotten better each of the last 4 weeks and now find themselves right up where they belong at the top of the league. Their week is tough as they have a Wednesday match at DC United, then head to Columbus to face the Crew on Saturday
2. New York Red Bulls - up 1
Well at least their defense was able to keep the high scoring Sporting KC off the board and they were able to get the 1-0 win, but something just doesn't look right with them either. They missed a PK attempt but were able to get the winning goal shortly after, like RSL and Philly they just don't seem worthy of the top spot right now. This weekend they get to head to SoCal and will face the LA Galaxy in what will be the league's premier match of the week.
2. Philadelphia Union - even
The Union continue to grind out results, they didn't look very pretty in doing so against a San Jose team that is really struggling but considering they were down a man for the entire second half getting a result is a good thing but one has to wonder when Sebastian Le Toux will show up. I just can't put them as the top team in MLS, not yet. Next up for the Union is a Friday night trip to Portland to face the Timbers.
2. Real Salt Lake - down 1
Clearly the impact of the Wednesday loss in the Champions League final had a huge impact on RSL, and it showed on Saturday as the team simply looked like they were "phoning it in" in the first half. They did play much better in the second half but with Portland playing 9-10 men behind the ball protecting their 1-0 lead, RSL were unable to get on the board. They will host a Saturday afternoon matinee against a quickly improving Chivas USA.
Yeah I have no number 1 team this week, just 3 teams that all could have staked a claim to the spot but failed to do so. This sets up for a very busy week 8 in MLS as there are a pair of Wednesday matches, another one on Friday and then 7 more on Saturday. Lots of chances for teams to make a statement, will anyone do enough to claim the #1 spot next week?
OFF MY SOAPBOX