The Earthquakes took the top spot in MLS with back to back wins in the Rocky Mountains, can they keep it with a weekend win over the LA Galaxy? (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
Well one thing is clear there are teams taking advantage of opportunity, and those letting it slip between their fingers. You can see which are which in my latest look at the rankings after 16 weeks of MLS Action, as normal I am looking at each conference separately because now that unbalanced schedule is coming more into play than it did early in the season, as only 5 of the last 25 matches played in MLS have seen teams facing opponents from the other conference.
1. San Jose Earthquakes - 10-3-3 - 33 pts
Huge back to back wins at elevation on Wednesday 2-1 over the Colorado Rapids and Saturday night 2-1 over Real Salt Lake, as the late goals just continue to come for the Quakes. Another big week for San Jose as they host Seattle in US Open Cup play on Tuesday and then will host the LA Galaxy on Saturday night.
2. Real Salt Lake - 10-5-2 - 32 pts
Wow, for the first time in 5 years RSL loses 3 straight home matches, the first time ever at Rio Tinto as the team is unable to pick up any points against Western Conference foes LA or San Jose. Now the team gets to go to take on the Columbus Crew on Saturday, maybe it will help them change their luck as they face an Eastern Conference foe for the first time since the FIFA break.
3. LA Galaxy - 6-8-2 - 20 pts
Maybe it is a bit quick to move the Galaxy up this far but let's be honest we knew they were better than their start and 9 points in 7 days is the proof in the pudding. Oh and all those points came at the expense of other Western Conference teams. Now they get to head to Northern California to take on San Jose in front of 50K fans at Stanford Stadium.
the rest of the West, plus the East after the jump:
4. Vancouver Whitecaps - 7-4-5 - 26 pts
After a very solid draw with the New York Red Bulls, it was a rough 3-0 loss at the hands of the LA Galaxy that drop the Whitecaps down to #4 for me. The Whitecaps get a nice rest as they won't be returning to action until July 4th.
5. Seattle Sounders - 7-5-4 - 25 pts
Well the Sounders continue to struggle as they are 0-3-2 in their last 5 matches and losing at Portland had to be a tough one for many of their fans to swallow. The upside for the Sounders is that they play their quarterfinal final match in the US Open Cup on Tuesday against San Jose, the Sounders are shooting for their 4th straight US Open Cup title. On Saturday they will be in New England to take on the Revolution.
6. Chivas USA - 5-7-4 - 19 pts
Chivas USA made some big moves in recent weeks but the reality is that this team has scored just 11 goals, the lowest total in all of Major League Soccer, so while their defense has given up fewer goals than than San Jose, or RSL they still haven't shown they can score enough to win. They will be playing in the US Open Cup on Tuesday against Charlotte, and then won't return to MLS action until July 7th.
7. Colorado Rapids - 6-8-1 - 19 pts
The Rapids find themselves dealing with back to back loses and now are on the outside of the playoff hunt looking in. Many believe based on some roster move action that the Rapids may be about to bring in some new blood in an attempt to boost them back up into the playoff hunt. The Rapids will play host to the Portland Timbers on Saturday.
8. Portland Timbers - 4-6-4 - 16 pts
The Timbers were able to stand up to the Seattle Sounders last weekend on national TV and pull out a 2-1 win on the strength of a David Horst header, oh and one hell of a TIFO display as well. A huge Western Conference road match for them as they head to Colorado to take on the Rapids, a win would move them closer to a potential playoff spot.
9. FC Dallas - 3-9-5 - 14 pts
Perhaps no team in recent MLS history has been bitten so bad by the injury bug as FC Dallas, who each week have either suffered another injury or a player melt down that results in a suspension. Can they right the ship or could there be some big changes in store in Frisco? They got a jersey sponsor this week, but they will have to wait until at least July 4th when they return to MLS action.
1. New York Red Bulls - 9-4-3 - 30 pts
When the Red Bulls gave up a first minute goal to DC United on Sunday, many thought the rout was one but they were able to come back and get a 3-2 win. It is huge as they are still dealing with a lot of injury issues, on Saturday they will look to add another win as they head up north to take on Toronto FC.
2. D.C. United - 9-5-3 - 30 pts
Had to be some heartbreak as the Red and Black gave up a road win after taking an early lead, what makes it worse is it was former United defender Brandon Barklage found the back of the net twice. Next up will be the Montreal Impact who will visit RFK stadium on Saturday.
3. Chicago Fire - 7-5-3 - 24 pts
Back to back wins for the Fire show me that while others are struggling to figure things out, the Fire seem to understand what it is they need to do in order to get results. The real test will be on Friday night as they head south to take on Sporting KC at Livestrong Sporting Park, in a huge Eastern Conference showdown.
4. Sporting Kansas City - 9-4-2 - 29 pts
After an incredible start to their season, SKC has looked much more average over the last month or so, in fact they are 2-1-2 in the last 5 and while they still have an awful lot of talent on their roster you simply have to worry about consistency and focus after their 4-0 loss against the Philly Union last weekend. Hosting the Fire on Saturday will give them a chance to bounce back quickly.
5. Houston Dynamo - 5-5-5 - 20 pts
They Dynamo looked very mediocre when they took on Montreal last weekend and the 4-2 score line reflected just that. The Dynamo still haven't played many home matches but unless they get better in a hurry it may not matter much where they play. On Saturday they will try to cool off a Philadelphia Union team that scored 4 goals in their last MLS match and 5 goals on Tuesday in US Open Cup action.
6. Columbus Crew - 5-5-4 -19 pts
Yeah it is hard to figure this Crew team out as one week they look like they got things figured out and the next, well they resemble a hot mess. Their offense has scored just 14 goals, only the Union have scored fewer in the East, but their defense has given up just 15, which is tied for the best in the East. A tough home loss to Chicago last weekend, and now on Saturday they get to take on a RSL team looking to over come back to back losses.
7. New England Revolution - 5-7-3 - 18 pts
The Rev's picked up a road draw last weekend with their 2-2 result against TFC, but with just one win in their last 5 matches, they will be looking to gain some momentum at home on Saturday when they play host to fellow struggling side Seattle, should be interesting to see how these two match up.
8. Montreal Impact - 5-9-3 -18 pts
Expansion teams are always interesting, the Impact found a way to beat Houston 4-2 on Saturday, but then they found a way to get beat 3-0 at home by Toronto FC. Inconsistency is the name of the game for the Impact, so which team will show up when they take on DC United on Saturday?
9. Philadelphia Union - 3-8-2 - 11 pts
Just when you thought you could close the book on the Union after a chaos filled season, they find signs of life both in MLS with a huge 4-0 win over Sporting KC, and in the US Open Cup as they advance with a 5-2 win over Harrisburg City. Next up will be a very rough road test as they head to the heat and humidity of Houston to take on the Dynamo on Saturday.
10. Toronto FC - 2-10-2 - 8 pts
Well they picked up a win on Wednesday over their fellow Canadians the Montreal Impact as they finally hold on to a lead, their offense has really picked up but their defense is now has some question marks, can they get it figured out. We will likely find out a lot about this team as they play host to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.
Now I will rank the full of MLS but remember this is a tough thing to really do considering that as the season progresses the teams will be facing more and more in conference opponents
1. San Jose Earthquakes
2. New York Red Bulls
3. DC United
4. Real Salt Lake
5. Vancouver Whitecaps
6. Sporting KC
7. Chicago Fire
8. LA Galaxy
9. Seattle Sounders
10. Houston Dynamo
11. Columbus Crew
12. Chivas USA
13. Colorado Rapids
14. Portland Timbers
15. New England Revolution
16. Montreal Impact
17. FC Dallas
18. Philadelphia Union
Well the season has become a lot more interesting as teams now are focused more on conference based matches, it should be an exciting weekend heading into next weeks holiday filled schedule.
OFF MY SOAPBOX