Well, thanks to the geniuses at MLS scheduling, we have 3 teams who have played 15 matches, 5 who have played 14, 7 who have played 13, and one who has played just 12. You would think scheduling with 16 teams would be easy, but no for some reason there are still struggles, even with a 21 day break tossed in, the league still seems to be confused about how simple this should be. How about every team plays every week? Anyhow, somehow it seems we are on the 14th week of the schedule (not sure how, since we started action in March 25th), so here are my power rankings after the matches that took place between July 1st and July 5th:
16. Chivas USA (-)
Despite playing better than the Union, they were unable to get a win at home and now are sitting with the longest winless streak in the teams history. I will say it again there is talent on this team but there is no leadership, so it is all about 11 guys playing as 11 guys and until they learn to play as a team and have a real leader on the field and in the locker room, they are likely to stay at the bottom of the heap. Good News, they head to KC to play the only team is as much disarray as they are in, on the10th.
15. KC Wizards (-)
Another loss for the Wizards as they get beat 2-1 by FC Dallas, one has to wonder how a team that looked so good in the first 3 weeks of the season could end up being so very bad. I know they have a lot of new players and a coach that is fairly new, but this team was one of the best defenses in the early weeks of the season and now have allowed 17 goals and they have allowed multiple goals in 5 of their last 8. Good news for KC, they get to face Chivas USA at home this weekend, and like they did a couple weeks ago against Philly, they might be able to bully another bad team and get a win.
more after the jump:
14. New England Revolution (-2)
You have to believe that the Rev's are offering any and every bride they can to avoid having to come back to Rio Tinto Stadium in 2011, they haven't scored a single goal in their two visits to RSL's new home stadium but they have given up 11. 6-0 last year, and this weekend they got beat 5-0, New England battled hard for 30 minutes but they clearly were outclassed and out hustled. A couple guys made great efforts but lack of talent in the midfield and up top simply left them without much of a chance. The question is will LA be able to score more than 5 on them when they face off on Saturday?
13. DC United (+1)
In a battle of two halves it was nice to see DC United adjust their style in the second half and get back into their match with San Jose, in the end it was a 1-1 draw which was a fair result. They seem to be finding a way to actually play as a team, I think one of the keys was bringing in Moreno at the start of the second half. DC seems to play with more confidence when he is on the pitch. They will face a big task on Saturday as they head to New York to face the Red Bulls, who will be on their "Henry high".
12. Philly Union (+1)
They are quickly becoming the little expansion team that could, another road match and another result as the Union pull off a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA. Danny "don't call me stoppage time" Mwanga scored first and the Union despite being outplayed for most of the match were able to hold on and get a result. Now they get to go back to their fancy new stadium and face off with against San Jose, who should provide them with a good test.
11. Seattle Sounders (-)
At 4-8-3, there are a lot of theories about what is going on in Seattle and why they aren't doing as well as they did last year. The simplest explanation is that the good teams in MLS are playing better than they did last year and the mediocre teams are getting left in the dust. The Sounders have other issues with injuries and such but they have faced LA twice, New York twice, RSL and Columbus once, that accounts for 6 of their matches and those are all tough ones in MLS this year. It will be a crazy week for Seattle, who face LA in Open Cup action midweek, then face FC Dallas on Sunday, then a Thursday match at DC United. Not much time to regroup or recover.
10. Houston Dynamo (-)
Well the Dynamo didn't lose the war, but they lost some of the battles, it was a ugly match at BMO field last Thursday and the end result of a 1-1 draw was fair as both teams played some of the worst soccer of their MLS season. Red cards, bad weather, we expect physical play from Houston and TFC didn't back down from them. The tests for the Dynamo will continue as they play host to the Crew on Saturday, a match that should again be a physical battle.
9. Chicago Fire (-1)
The Fire are another team with some great talent but that still most often play too often as individuals. I think they are stuck trying to figure out what style they want to play, they have Banner and Pappa who have pace and attacking style, but with Mc Bride, John, and Nyarko up top they aren't getting the ball often enough to be dangerous. At 4-4-5, it looks like the Fire are just an average team this year. They will get a big test on Thursday as they host RSL, in a Eastern Conference rematch.
8. San Jose Earthquakes (+1)
Well in the first half it looked like the Quakes would be able to get the win over DC United when Ike Opara got the first goal of the match, and his first using his feet instead of his head. There were several chances for the Quakes to extend their lead but they failed to capitalize and in the second half United was able to regroup and get back into the match and almost were able to steal all 3 points. I still think the Quakes have to find a way to get their forwards to convert the chances that Convey creates, or they will continue to struggle. Up next is a trip to face the Union at PPL park, if the Quakes aren't careful they might find themselves in a real dog fight with the Union.
7. Toronto FC (-)
See the notes for Houston, a ugly match, a ugly result, on a ugly day in Toronto. TFC are still undefeated at home, which is a good thing for them and has them currently in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference with their 5-4-4 record. Up next for them is another home match and another Western Conference foe as the Rapids come to visit BMO field.
6. Colorado Rapids (-)
I don't say this often but the Rapids were the better team this weekend, and should have gotten a win over the Red Bulls. They played with more energy and skill for the vast majority of the match, you have to believe if they hadn't spent half the match in typhoon conditions that the match may have been more entertaining, but on the day the Rapids were unable to get the win and had to settle for a 1-1 home draw. Next up for them is a trip to Canada and a chance to face off against the unbeaten at home Toronto FC.
5. New York Red Bulls (-1)
I know that the Red Bulls got a draw on the road, but they got out played for almost the entire match, and were lucky to escape the mile high city with a draw. Maybe they are all more interested in who is going to be joining them shortly than dealing with the business at hand, but this team has enough trouble providing quality chances to JPA, what are they going to do with "handball Henry"? Good thing for them that they are at home and get to try to beat up on DC United again this weekend.
4. FC Dallas (+3)
Is a win over KC really worth the biggest jump in the rankings this week, probably not, but when you remember that FC Dallas only has two losses so far this year you have to give them some respect. It was LA last year who made it to the playoffs and eventually MLS Cup after starting the season with a good number of draws. At 5-2-6, they could be one of the more dangerous teams that nobody is talking about, in MLS. Sunday they will head to the Emerald City to see if they can keep the Sounders winless against Western Conference teams.
3. Columbus Crew (-)
OK, the Crew beat up Chicago this weekend, it wasn't a pretty match but they did what they needed to do in order to get the 3 points and in the end getting points is what it is all about. I still am not overly impressed with the Crew and the fact that all the goals in this match came in a 5 minute stretch, reminds me why. Good but not overpowering, early in the season they got a number of soft calls, and now they are getting some soft wins, but right now they are the class of the East. Next up for them is a trip down to Houston, and a faceoff against a Dynamo team looking to turn their season around.
2. Real Salt Lake (-)
After coming back from their World Cup break and playing a poor match against San Jose, RSL reminded people that this team is capable of doing some real damage. New England came to town looking to figure out why the wheels have been coming off, and left town wondering where their entire car was. A 5-0 beatdown is what RSL did to the Rev's and it was a very dominant effort. Can RSL now head to the windy city and get a win at Toyota Park over the Fire? If they play half as well as they did on Friday, then Thursday should be no problem.
1. LA Galaxy (-)
There was a very short period of time against Seattle that reminded me that while the Galaxy are very, very good, they can be beaten. Of course Riley's own goal put any thoughts of a Sounder comeback out of mind, and LA went back to dominating every aspect of the match. This team is good, and with Landon and Edson back, they are very good and remain the class of MLS. Next up for them will be seeing if they can match the 5-0 score that RSL put up against New England.
Player of the Week:
I am going to agree with the NASR and give the award to Alvaro Saborio, whose two goals were the nails in the coffin of the RSL 5-0 win over New England. Saborio was everywhere during the match, and his backheel goal was worthy of a spot in the goals of the week competition. It would be a real shame if they May player of the month and two time player of the week in MLS wasn't part of the MLS All Star roster.
OFF MY SOAPBOX