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Major League Soccer Week 9 recap and Power Rankings

Well it was a light schedule for MLS, two matches on Thursday and just 5 on the weekend.  One trend dominated the weekend, score first and you win.  Each of the 7 matches in week 9, the team that got the first goal got all 3 points, this trend was solid than the usual strength of the home team.  The home team won only 2 of the 7 matches (Toronto and Houston both got wins, while New York, FC Dallas, Seattle, Chivas, and Kansas City all dropped results at home.

I will say in defense of FC Dallas, Seattle, and KC that each of them played as well if not better than their opponents, but failure to convert chances to goals and minor mistakes that let the other team get a goal can cost a team a playoff spot in this league where the better team doesn't always win.  Interesting that each of those were 1-0 matches as well.

16. DC United (-)

Well another week, another loss for DC United and you have to wonder how long before heads start to roll, even the loyal fans at Black and Red United have called for a change.  I said it early on that United were going to only be as good as Jamie Moreno was, this is a team in transition and I can't blame Curt for it, go up the food chain to Mr. Payne and you can find the root cause of the last 4 years of decline at DC.

15. Philly Union (-)

The Union didn't play this week and that may be a great thing for them, time to practice, time to heal from injuries, and time to adapt more to playing as a team instead of 11 individuals.  I think you can look at their performances and clearly see that there are some week spots on their back line, but I do believe much of their issues can and will be addressed by time and the familiarity the comes from playing together.  Once this team gets a stretch of matches at home and into their new stadium, they will see more wins and results come their way.  Just not this week as they head to Houston.

more recaps and rankings after the jump:

14. New England Revolution (-)

I don't expect the Revolution to be down here for long now that Shalrie Joseph is back, they played much better against Toronto and looked very dangerous.  Now they get a home match and a chance to show that they are better than #14, a win against New York would be a huge boost for the Rev's.  They will need someone to score and end their 2 match goalless streak.


13. Chivas USA (-)

So I have to say that I think Chivas is a much better team than their record shows, they do still have a lot of new players and are getting used to a new system.  They will get a chance to earn a road win as they head to DC United, a much easier task than they faced against RSL.  This team still needs a real leader, I know it is hard to bring someone new in and make them a leader, but with K & B were struggling with that leadership role, and with them gone it is clear they need something to make them click.

12. KC Wizards (-)

It has to suck to play better than the best team in the East at home and still no get a result, I have no idea why they wouldn't be starting Wolff and Arnaud, with Kamara coming off the bench.  KC's 8 goals are 3rd worst in MLS, only Philly and DC United have fewer, while their 9 goal allowed is the second best in the Eastern Conference.  The Wizards need some scoring magic, but I don't think it will come this weekend as they will face the Real Salt Lake who have only allowed 4 goals at home while scoring 10.  KC's best bet for a win comes June 10th when they host the Union.

11. FC Dallas (-)

When you can go toe to toe with the Galaxy this year and actually out play them for most of the match, things aren't all bad.  When you can't score goals or get wins at home it will cost you in the long run, I have watch Dallas now out play several opponents but only against Houston did they manage to get a win.

10. Seattle Sounders (-)

Another team that played better than their opponent this weekend but failed to find the back of the net and ended up with a loss.  You know things are in a tailspin when Sigi starts going after his own players but I have to say that some of the blame has to go to the coaching staff that for too long this season have tried to do the exact same things they did last year, here is a hint: we have seen that and won't be fooled again.  One has to wonder why Le Toux was left unprotected, his 4 goals for Philly are more than any of the Sounders have.  The Sounders have a huge match again this weekend as they head to Dick's and a faceoff with Western Conference foe the Rapids.

9. Chicago Fire (-)

A week off can be a good thing or a bad thing, time to recover from injuries and figure out how you blew a two goal lead in the late minutes against KC two weeks ago.  A midweek matchup against a good but struggling FC Dallas team should be an entertaining match, the Fire need to do more than blow smoke at home.

8. New York Red Bulls (-1)

Beating a half hearted Juve may be good for the soul, but getting beat at home by Eastern Conference rival Columbus wasn't good for your great start, now you have to deal with 3 straight league losses.  Here is the reason for your losing streak, just one goal scored in your last 3 matches, the dilemma is a midweek match against Colorado for a spot in the US Open Cup or your weekend matchup against New England.  Which one do you focus your energy on as they will be your 3rd and 4th matches in 9 days. 

7. Toronto FC (+1)

Winning at home is the key to MLS, TFC was missing their leader but found a way to adjust to the unexpected return of Shalrie Joseph.  Barrett was able to find the back of the net and that was all it took as Frei and the defense were up to the task of keeping the clean sheet.  TFC went to LA a couple weeks ago and played a solid match earning a 0-0 draw, they will need to be at their top form again as they head back to California to face red hot San Jose.

6. Colorado Rapids (-1)

Is it unfair to drop a team that didn't play, don't know and don't care.  I dropped them as they are now 3 points below Houston (yes I know they have played fewer matches as well).  If they can take care of business at home against a Seattle team that is becoming desperate, then the might be able to move back up.  I have a feeling that Seattle is going to be tougher to deal with than their record would have people believe.

5. Houston Dynamo (+1)

Moving a team up for beating DC United seems almost as wrong as moving a team down for having a week off, but a win is a win and Houston continue their streak of win's following losses.  I only watched a little of this matchup but it was clear that Houston is the better team, and how nice that they get to follow up a home cupcake match like this one with one against Philly?  Don't be surprised if the Union put up much more of a fight than did DC United.

4. San Jose Earthquakes (-)

Getting a win on the road over a conference opponent is an impressive thing, normally it would move you up, but when everyone else did the same thing you get stuck in the same spot.  For the Quakes, sitting in the top 5 of almost everyones power rankings has to be refreshing as so many people picked them to be the worst team in the West this year.  They went to Seattle and battled, they didn't out play them but once again Chris Wondolowski found a way to get an early goal and the Quakes held on.  Next up is Toronto at home, TFC has sucked on the road, only exception was the 0-0 draw with LA, but since losing their opener to RSL the Quakes have done well at home.

3. Real Salt Lake (-)

Only in their first season in MLS did RSL not win a match at the Home Depot Center, most often it has been the Galaxy who have been the victims but thanks to a late effort by Fabian Espindola, Real was able to get a 2-1 win over Chivas.  They didn't play their best but they did play better than the Goats and it was a well deserved win.  Next up is the only team to beat RSL at Rio Tinto in 2009, the struggling KC Wizards. If RSL wins this match it will mark the first time they have won 5 straight in MLS play and it would complete a perfect May.

2. Columbus Crew (-)

Last year it was LA who found a way to get results early in the year, even when they weren't the best team on the pitch, this year it is the Crew who have done that a number of times.  They did play well in their 3-1 win over New York but they got lucky in KC with their 1-0 win.  They will get to be at home when they face off against the number one team in MLS, a win and they can drop the Galaxy out of the top spot for the first time since week 2.

1. LA Galaxy (-)

Like the Crew, LA has found a way to get results even when they don't play their best.  Their midweek win over FC Dallas was proof and you have to wonder if after a 0-0 draw at home against TFC, and then a 1-0 win over a game FC Dallas if the Galaxy will be able to handle the Crew in Columbus?  We will find out which of these two teams will be number one for week 10, as they face off this week.

My Picks
Well I sucked on Thursday and got every match wrong, my weekend was better as I got 3 of the 5 right including nailing the score on the RSL 2-1 win over Chivas.