Yes Jimmy, Sporting KC is for real and still undefeated. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
So the action for this weekend is over and there weren't as many upsets as we have seen in the past few weeks so ranking teams remains fairly easy. Let's start with the Eastern Conference:
6-0-0, there isn't much more you need to say about Sporting, they quickly adjusted to RSL's first 10 minutes and then dominated the match ending up with a 1-0 win. This team is as good as it gets in MLS, and two interesting tests for them this week as they are in Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps on Wednesday, and then Portland to take on the Timbers on Saturday, can either of these teams hand Sporting their first loss?
A 2-2 draw at home against San Jose on Saturday but the Red Bulls are still a very good team and likely to be the only team to really challenge Sporting for the top spot in the East. Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper are simply going to score a ton of goals, but can they find a way to keep the opposition from scoring? It should be interesting as they head to RFK to take on D.C. United on Sunday.
So the Dynamo finally get back to playing and they end up with a horrible delay due to bad weather, and then they end up with the match being called after 67 minutes with the score 1-1. A few more road matches in front of them before they get to open up their new home stadium, up next a trip to Columbus and the first SSS in MLS, can Houston pick up their 3rd road win of the season?
the rest of the rankings after the jump:
4. Chicago Fire
Like Houston, the Fire finally return to action only to endure weather delays, and a shortened match that ended in a 1-1 draw. Which leaves me with more questions than answers when it comes to the Fire, but their signing Chris Rolfe today, might be a very good move in the right direction. Another move in the right direction will be heading to Toronto this weekend to take on winless TFC, the Fire should be able to get a result on Saturday.
5. DC United
DCU picked up a 2-1 win on the road over the New England Revolution on Saturday, which equals out their record at 2-2-2. A couple of interesting matches ahead this week for DC, first they will host the Montreal Impact on Wednesday night, and then on Sunday they will play host to the New York Red Bulls, neither match is going to be easy.
Well the Crew became the first team to lose to Philly this year, and for me are one of the teams that I think will struggle all year long. Between losing players in the offseason, to injury issues, it could be a very long year for Crew fans. They get to play host to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, which should be a very tough match.
7. New England Revolution
Well following back to back wins, the Revolution now have back to back loses as they lost 2-1 at home to DC United on Saturday. I expected this team to be very up and down, with any rebuilding project the teams results will very often rest on a couple of core players (Benny, Sharlie, Matt) or on players having an exceptional match. Consistency is something they will have to work on. A weekend off might be just what they need.
8. Philadelphia Union
Similar to the Revolution but rebuilding for very different reasons, they lost their keeper, keep benching their captain, lost their leading scorer, yup rebuilding for sure. They picked up their first win of the season with a 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew, yeah color me not impressed at all. They have youth, they have talent, can they figure out how to win? They will head to the West coast for a Saturday night showdown with Chivas USA, a team that has won all their road matches and none of their home matches, should be interesting.
9. Montreal Impact
The Impact took a lead in the 61st minute but were unable to hold on for the win, or even a draw as they gave up two goals in the final 15 minutes of the match. Folks I know a lot of people talked about how good the Impact would be, and I believe they are better than what they have shown, but they are still an expansion team. They will play on Wednesday as they visit RFK and take on DC United, and then enjoy a weekend off.
10. Toronto FC
Tick, Tick, Tick, the clock is winding down on Aron Winter's stay at TFC as they are the last team in MLS without a win in 2012, 0-5-0, they are the lowest scoring team in MLS with just 2 goals scored, yeah the boat appears to be sinking, again in Toronto. I know they miss Frings, but no one player can cause the chaos on the pitch that is TFC. They will play host to the Chicago Fire on Saturday, I expect the fans will be sparse (something we have seen recently) and hostile towards their own team.
So there you go the Eastern Conference, and while they feature the top team in MLS in Sporting KC with 18 points, they and New York are the only teams that would quality for the playoffs in the West. So let's take a look at what the West looks like.
Despite a less than stellar performance against Sporting KC, RSL still are the top team in the West after 6 weeks of action, the 1-0 loss exposed some issues with RSL's ability to adjust their tactics when things aren't working and they better get that figured out quickly.
OK, any team that can go goal for goal with the Red Bulls on the road is a team with some talent, and that is exactly what I thought the Quakes were heading into this season. I am surprised that they have been this good this soon, 4-1-1 is not a bad start for anyone. It is a damn shame that Shea Salinas will be out because of a horrible act of thuggery by Rafa Marquez, hopefully the Quakes will get Alan Gordon or Steven Lenhart back soon, maybe not too soon. The Quakes will play host to Real Salt Lake on Saturday, a battle of the top teams in the West.
It was a strange match that the Sounders had last weekend with the Rapids? Despite having just over 40% of the possession, the Sounders took 18 shots to the Rapids 4, but also had about 190 fewer passes, talk about direct. Whatever it was it worked as they got a Zach Scott goal to secure the 1-0 win, but it was far from convincing. The Sounders are one of many teams that could use some good news on the injury front, and a weekend off might just be what they needed.
A 0-1 road loss at Seattle was tough for the Rapids, who actually played well in the match but clearly they have been suffering this year to score as many goals as they would like, they have 7 in 6 matches (1.17 per match) in 2010 when they won MLS Cup that average was 1.47 per match. A healthy Conor Casey would be a very good thing for the Rapids, but due to a case of strep throat it may be a couple more weeks. A real shame as they could really use him as they will be playing host to the LA Galaxy on Saturday.
5. FC Dallas
FC Dallas have claimed back to back wins over New England and Montreal, and that has moved them up the rankings and the table. I still think there are a lot of questions with this FC Dallas team that will be answered as the season goes along, most of all can Brek Shea be a positive difference for the team and is Blaz Perez the real deal? They will get a chance to answer both of those this weekend as they have a huge Western Conference match at BC Place as they will take on the Vancouver Whitecaps.
6. Vancouver Whitecaps
The Whitecaps haven't claimed a victory in their last 4 matches, everyone talked about them being an offensive juggernaut this year, but just 5 goals scored in 6 matches says otherwise. Wednesday night they looked more interested in beating up Sporting KC than beating them in the match, and Sporting is a very physical team, Whitecaps where beyond that in my opinion. So can they get things figured out on Saturday as they play host to FC Dallas?
7. LA Galaxy
The Galaxy picked up their second win of the year with a 3-1 win over the struggling Portland Timbers, it reminds people what the Galaxy are capable of, but the question is can they get their first team back healthy and playing well? If so they are very dangerous but I think we all have seen depth is not their strong point, they will head to Denver to take on the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, can they deal with the elevation and the Rapids?
8. Chivas USA
I know I should move them up on the strength of their road wins, but Portland isn't looking like a top team, and beating Toronto seems to be something every MLS team is capable of doing this year. I think if they can get Juan Pablo Angel back and into the swing of things, this is a team that could really cause problems for people this year. They could get their first home win as they play host to the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
9. Portland Timbers
Four straight losses and all of a sudden the team that almost made the playoffs last year is looking more like an expansion team. I know they made some changes in the off season, but the emotion of last year is gone and this team has the talent to be better than this, can they pull it together? I think they will, but last year Jack Jewsbury was the clear leader of this team, this year I am not sure who is their leader on the pitch. Life won't get easier as they play host to undefeated Sporting KC this Saturday.
For those who wonder how I see the combined league:
- Sporting KC
- Real Salt Lake
- San Jose Earthquakes
- New York Red Bulls
- Seattle Sounders
- Colorado Rapids
- Houston Dynamo
- FC Dalals
- Vancouver Whitecaps
- LA Galaxy
- Chicago Fire
- DC United
- Chivas USA
- Columbus Crew
- New England Revolution
- Portland Timbers
- Philadelphia Union
- Montreal Impact
- Toronto FC