Well it was another week of MLS action, and a couple of matches really caught my attention; Seattle's win over Houston, as it handed the Dynamo their first loss of the season and they are 2-1-0 to start their 7 match road trip, and Sporting Kansas City's late win over FC Dallas, Sporting clearly have the offense thing worked out.
There were also a good number of stinkers, but we will get to those as part of our recaps, so here we go starting with the Eastern Conference:
1. Sporting Kansas City - Another win late, but another win is another win and as the only 3-0-0 team in MLS they are deserving of the top spot in the East. They had a bit of a dog fight with FC Dallas but in the end they pulled it out late on a Kei Kamara goal, offense isn't a problem for SKC who have it in droves. It should be interesting on Sunday when try to break down the Chivas USA defense, something RSL couldn't do.
2. Houston Dynamo - A loss at Seattle drops them a spot, but being 2-1-0 to start the season isn't bad, when you consider all those matches have been on the road, it is mighty good. Still a lot of questions about the Dynamo offense remain, you can't live off set pieces (or can you?), 4 more road matches until they can head home to Houston to open their new stadium. They Dynamo have cashed in their bye weeks and won't return to action until April 15th, I doubt anyone will catch them even with two weeks off.
The rest of the Eastern conference as well as my rankings for the West after the jump:
3. New York Red Bulls - Perhaps my most fickle move of the week, New York stunk it up the first couple weeks of the season, and I am not sure if their 4-1 win over the previously undefeated Rapids says more about NYRB or Colorado, but I believe that a return to the 4-4-2 with Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry up top could be the key to their success this season. They should have little problem on Saturday as they play host to Montreal, should being the key word.
4. Chicago Fire - The Fire notched their first win of the year with a 1-0 result over the Philadelphia Union, there isn't much flashy about how the Fire do things, but they are getting them done so far this year 1-0-1 isn't a bad way to start the season. This is about where I expected the Fire to be this year, fighting for a playoff spot, they are going to be an interesting team to watch this year. Up next a trip to the Rockies for a Sunday showdown with the Colorado Rapids.
5. Columbus Crew - Yuck I hate putting them this high, I am not at all impressed with them or their win over Montreal. It was painful watching them play last weekend, and while they might be able to get a win this weekend when they head to Toronto, it will likely be because TFC are focused on Champions League.
6. Toronto FC - I know they haven't gotten a win in MLS action yet, and I hate to make excuses for them because they looked bad both in their first loss to Seattle and then this weekend to San Jose, still I think they are probably going to be one of the team fighting for a playoff spot when the season ends. This weekend they face the Columbus Crew at home, but the match is sandwiched between CCL matches and unlikely to motivate the players who see action.
7. DC United - Again Yuck, so far they haven't shown me much on either side of the ball, I expect a team with Dwayne DeRosario to make some offensive noise but they have scored just 1 goal in their 3 matches. I have to expect more from them, or it is going to get as ugly as their stadium situation and bad on and off the pitch isn't where a storied franchise like DC should be. They will play host to FC Dallas on Friday night, a chance to show everyone that they are for real, or not.
8. New England Revolution - a lucky goal in the first minute and basically 90 minutes of stalling, oh how I hate that type of soccer but I think it is something you will see all year when New England gets a lead. The shame is I think they have some interesting offensive options if they can figure out how to use them. The bad news is that they have to head to the Home Depot Center to face the LA Galaxy on Saturday, that will be a huge test.
9. Montreal Impact - remember how everyone was telling you how good the Impact were going to be, 0-2-1, now I had very low expectations of Montreal from the start, so I am not surprised much by their struggles. They are going to win some matches this year, but this is a team that is going to be very inconsistent all year long. The good news is on Saturday they face another inconsistent team the New York Red Bulls.
10. Philadelphia Union - The chaos of the offseason, trades, releases, and such has turned into the chaos of the season with players being benched for mystery injuries and the result has been chaos on the pitch as the Union start the season 0-3-0. Remember the Union lost just 8 matches all of last year, this team has a lot of young players and you will get a lot of inconsistency as a result, which is what we have seen. A big test for them as they will play host to the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Then there is the West, the worst team in the West would be in 4th place in the Eastern conference standings but we will avoid that topic and focus on the task at hand, how do the teams of the West stack up?
1. Seattle Sounders - a dominating performance against TFC and a very solid win over Houston to start the season are enough to move the Sounders up this week. it looks as if the Sounders have put their CCL struggles behind them and moved on, and that could mean a lot of danger for other teams. Can David Estrada continue scoring goals? If so it takes a lot of pressure off others, and makes the Sounders a more dangerous team, it will be a good test as they play host to San Jose on Saturday night.
2. Real Salt Lake - So I didn't move RSL up because of their win over the Galaxy on FirstKick weekend, and I am not moving them down after losing to Chivas USA. The reason is simple, RSL has shown that this is where they belong for now, Chivas fought hard and had a very smart plan in place against RSL but RSL still was the better team everywhere except the scoreboard, RSL has to get a better killer instinct in matches and while the youth has served them well as others were injured, the return of Javier Morales, Nat Borchers, and Alvaro Saborio might be just what is needed. A huge Western conference matchup as RSL heads to Portland to take on the Timbers on Saturday, I hear almost 100 RSL fans will make the trip.
3. Los Angeles Galaxy - The downside of having a week off is that other teams can look better than you, because well you don't play. That happened this week as Seattle looked good picking up their second win, and even a losing RSL looked fairly good. Now LA has had a chance to rest from CCL action, so they should be more than ready to take on the New England Revolution on Saturday.
4. Vancouver Whitecaps - I am not sold on the Whitecaps, to be honest they have faced 3 teams with 1 combined win, of course they do have a ton of strikers and offensive minded players, so they could be as good as their early record. Or they could be getting a huge boost from a very week schedule in the first month of the season? We won't find out too much as they head to Philly to take on the win less Union on Saturday, really the first 4 teams you face have a total of 1 win between them.
5. San Jose Earthquakes - Well just when you want to write off their opening day win, because of their bad performance against Houston, they go to Toronto and simply demolish TFC, I thought this was a team that would challenge for a playoff spot and I still think they will, they have added a couple good pieces this year and a focused Stephen Lenhart could be a great compliment to Chris Wondolowski. We should know a lot more about the Quakes after their Saturday showdown at Seattle.
6. Portland Timbers - So the Timbers like RSL know what it is like to be the better team and not get the result, they found themselves in that situation in their 1-0 loss to New England. I think the Timbers are another team like San Jose that will challenge for a playoff spot, they have lots of good talent and a huge home field advantage. Their match on Saturday with RSL should be one of the most entertaining of the weekend.
7. Colorado Rapids - Just when I thought the Rapids might actually be playing above expectations this year with their new coach, they get man handled by the Red Bulls. Now to be honest this team was missing both Jeff Larentowicz and Pablo Mastroeni, and it clearly showed on the pitch. It will be interesting to see how they recover and react this weekend as they play host to the Chicago Fire on Sunday.
8. FC Dallas - Something feels wrong about putting FC Dallas down this low, and I doubt they will stay here for long, but they are 1-1-1 and they could be better but they gave up a goal when they were up on Portland, and then gave up a draw against Sporting KC late in the match to end up with a loss. When they get their U23 players back, and hopefully get David Ferreira back, they could move up quickly. Even on the road on Friday night at DC United they should be able to get a result.
9. Chivas USA - So no leaving the goats at the bottom isn't my revenge for them getting a ugly win over RSL, but with each team in the West with more points than them, OK their Home Depot Center brothers are tied with them but played fewer matches. So what can you do, they have scored one goal this year in 3 matches, every team in the west has scored more goals than them. My big question is can their tactics that worked so well against RSL work against Sporting KC as well? We find out on Sunday.
OK, so my rankings are a bit late again this week, I am sorry it has been a very busy couple of days. So what do you think of my power rankings?
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