Well it was an interesting week for a lot of MLS teams, some stepped up and delivered a message and others simply continue to spin their wheels in the mud of mediocrity.
18. Toronto FC - down 1
Well another match at home and another match without a win, a rather bland 0-0 draw with Sporting KC isn't the way to move up the power rankings, it also isn't going to keep the fans happy. Less than 1 point per match is going to keep the Red's out of the playoffs unless something changes in a hurry for them. One upside this week, they didn't give up 6 goals, but that is the only upside. Their next match will be a real challenge as they will head to the Home Depot Center for a Saturday showdown with the Galaxy.
17. Sporting Kansas City - up 1
Home sweet home, that has got to be what each and every player and fan of Sporting KC is thinking. They got a 0-0 draw at Toronto to end their 10 match road trip with a 1-6-3 record, they are going to have to get about things in a hurry and they get their first chance on Thursday night when they will host (yes host) the Chicago Fire. Then they get to head back out on the road for a Sunday showdown with FC Dallas.
16. Chicago Fire - down 1
4 draws in their last 5 matches, and even a change in the head coach can't improve their performance as they settle for a 0-0 draw with Seattle at home. There are still more questions than there are answers when it comes to the Fire, and they get two chances to do something or anything to try to answer them. First up is a trip to open LIVESTRONG Sporting Park and face Sporting KC, then they head to Columbus for a showdown with the Crew, and I don'tlike their odds in either of them.
15. New England Revolution - down 1
3 straight loses for the Revolution and this is a team heading nowhere quickly, after a 1-0 loss to FC Dallas you have to wonder what can they do to change their luck? Well perhaps the only upside for them is that they get to face the New York Red Bulls on Friday night and NYRB haven't won a match in some time, but have 4 straight draws. You have to believe the Rev's will be hoping that it becomes 5 straight draws.
14. Vancouver Whitecaps - up 2
The Whitecaps had a bad week but I moved them up because others has worse weeks. For an expansion side getting a 1-1 draw against a quickly improving Chivas USA team on Wednesday was a good thing, but having to face a RSL team looking to get out of their funk on Saturday proved too much and they got handed a 2-0 defeat. This week isn't going to be easy for the Whitecaps, they get Eric Hassli back but they have to head to Seattle and a Cascadia Cup showdown with the Sounders.
13. DC United - even
It had to be a bit of a heartbreak for DC United, they came close to getting a huge win on Friday night at the Home Depot Center, but they had to settle for a 0-0 draw against the LA Galaxy. They keep showing signs of life and have a solid 2-0-3 in their last 5 matches, good enough for 3rd in the East, but only 11th best overall in MLS. Up next for them is a home match with San Jose.
12. Columbus Crew - down 1
For the second straight week the Crew have had to come from behind to get a draw, last week at home against Chivas USA, and then this week on the road against the New York Red Bulls they waited until stoppage time to pull out a 1-1 draw. Normally I would reward a road draw against a playoff team, but NYRB haven't won in 5 matches and neither have the Crew so they drop a spot. They have a busy week with a Wednesday match against RSL and then a Sunday match with the Chicago Fire, both of them are at home where the Crew haven't lost yet this year (3-0-3), can they get their first win in over a month?
11. Houston Dynamo - down 2
Here is another Eastern Conference team with no wins in their last 5 matches (6 of the 8 haven't), I expected more from them in a showdown in their former home town but instead they find themselves on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline, despite taking more shots and having more possession. The Dynamo still don't have a win on the road, so they are lucky they will be facing Chivas USA at home on Saturday.
10. San Jose Earthquakes - up 2
Someone has woken up the Quakes, who haven't lost in their last 5 and were able to get a solid 2-0 win at home over Houston on Saturday, they also saw the return of Simon Dawkins late in the match. If San Jose were in the Eastern conference they would be in 3rd place and looking at a playoff stop, but they aren't and in the West they find themselves in 8th place and out of the playoffs. A tough road match as they will head to RFK to face off against DC United on Saturday.
9. Portland Timbers - down 1
First a loss at home, then this weekend a loss at Chivas USA and the golden team of early May no longer looks nearly as impressive. Listen I still think the Timbers have a good team, but the reality of the road, the long season, and fact that the same tricks only work so long in this league all have caught up with the expansion side. They will look to get things back on track Saturday at home when they host the defending MLS Cup Champs the Colorado Rapids.
8. Chivas USA - up 2
At the start of May few of us thought that Chivas would get their act together as quickly as they have and Robin's team is 2-1-2 in their last 5 and got solid results against the two expansion teams this week with a 1-1 draw against Vancouver and then a 1-0 win over the Portland Timbers. They will face a huge test on Saturday as they head to Houston to face the Dynamo, a road win would give them 20 points from 14 matches, more than I expected.
7. Seattle Sounders - even
I was very surprised that the Sounders couldn't find a way to get a goal against the Fire, but a 0-0 draw on the road isn't going to hurt them in my standings. This will be a huge week for the Sounders, they play host to Vancouver on Saturday and after a 1-1 draw at home with Portland this will be their final home Cascadia Cup match, so a win is going to be needed.
6. Colorado Rapids - even
Well the Rapids continue to get results, just not wins, this time it was a 1-1 draw against the Philly Union as the Rapids join a bunch of other teams with 7 draws. Their 2-1-4 record at home could really come back to haunt them later this year, as getting 3 points at home has to be the expectation of teams looking to make the playoffs. The Rapids will have a huge test on Saturday as they head to JELD-WEN field to face the Portland Timbers.
5. New York Red Bulls - even
I was tempted to move them down a number of spots, they simply aren't living up to expectations or potential. NYRB are just 3-1-3 at home and 1-1-4 on the road, hardly what was expected from the team with the highest payroll in league history. The only guy I see playing at or above expectations is Luke Rodgers, and while some will point to their Gold Cup call ups, I think that is a soft excuse. The Red Bulls failed to get a win in May, but I would expect they should get a win over New England on Saturday.
4. Real Salt Lake - even
RSL got back to their winning ways on Saturday with a very solid 2-0 win over Vancouver, but before I can move them up in the rankings they will need to prove that they can keep scoring and string together some positive results. Jean Alexandre, the unlikely striker for RSL won MLS Player of the Week honors for his 1 goal and 1 assist match, but now we will find out if he and RSL can do it on the road. First up a Wednesday match with the Crew in Columbus and then a Saturday afternoon match with the Union, 6 points would be great, but 4 points would likely see me move them up a spot or two.
3. Philadelphia Union - down 1
A 1-1 road draw against the defending MLS Cup champs Colorado usually moves a team up in my power rankings but at the top it is the little things that make all the difference, and FC Dallas got a win so they moved up and that meant the Union moved down. I still am not a huge fan of the grind em out style of Philly but you have to build on something and in MLS that is playing defense, then you can focus on other things and right now the Union are playing defense fairly well, only RSL has allowed fewer goals. The face off with RSL at PPL Park on Saturday should be a real statement match for both teams, should be fun.
2. FC Dallas - up 1
Yes it was only a win over New England at home, but there were only two teams in the top 5 that got wins this week so it was enough to move FC Dallas up into a tie for #2. 3-0-2 in their last 5 matches have moved them up to second spot in the West and overall in MLS. They will play host to Sporting KC on Sunday, a match they should be able to get a result in.
2. Los Angeles Galaxy - down 1
I can't make a team #1 if they can't get a win at home over an average DC United side, the 0-0 draw was actually a good result for LA who probably did more to lose that match than they did to win it. The question still remains who will step up while the Donovan's are gone? Against DC it was Josh Saunders in goal, but now they get to host a very bad Toronto FC side on Saturday, anything less than a win will see them move down the rankings.
The week ahead is really going to be fun for fans, there are 11 matches starting on Wednesday night and continuing every night until Sunday. You have to count the Real Salt Lake at Philadelphia Union as the match of the week, but a lot of attention will be on Sporting KC as they open their new stadium on Thursday, gonna be a fun week.
OFF MY SOAPBOX