OK, it was an interesting weekend in MLS with a couple teams that had appeared to build some momentum in recent weeks getting shut down hard. For me the playoff picture is becoming more and more clear, as teams start to show their true colors with less than a third of the MLS season left. So let's get to it:
16. DC United (-)
I am sorry a single win over another bad team isn't enough for me to move them out of the basement, with one more loss they would hit 15 on the season and it will get worse than that with 9 left the only real question is will they lose 20 matches this year. Next up for United is a road trip to the HDC, at least they get to face Chivas USA and not the Galaxy.
15. New England Revolution (-1)
Oh I know, and I hate to be the one to bust your bubbles but SuperLiga is a Super Joke and their wins there don't count and don't matter. Yes they found a way to beat the Galaxy, which seemed impressive in July but not so much heading into September. Back to back road losses are enough for me to proclaim the Revolution over for 2010, I know they have 10 matches left and are just 7 points out of a playoff spot but there are enough injuries, and confusion on this team to make anyone scratch their heads. I can hear people proclaiming the "Rev's are back" when they get a home win against the Union this weekend.
14. Philadelphia Union (-1)
Well at PPL Park they are good enough to force teams into rough matches but they looked much more like an expansion team in their 2-0 loss to DC United. Yes I still think they play entertaining soccer, but wasn't that what Kevin Payne proclaimed about DC United last year, wonder how it is going for him now. I really am going to be pulling for the Union on Saturday as they face New England, just because I think New England is bad enough to lose to an expansion team, even at home.
more after the jump:
13. Houston Dynamo (+2)
Nope I don't think they are back, I just think they got lucky enough to beat the Fire and make their home fans happy for the night. 10 losses are already more than they had all of last year and they have 9 more matches to go, unless Ching can find a way to get a hat trick in each of them. The fact that they have allowed 33 goals already this year, when they allowed just 29 all of last year, should be enough for you to know that the Dynamo are more Dismal this year than Dynamo. Up next for the Orange of MLS is a road trip to Denver, where two teams that are really struggling to restart their season will battle it out.
12. Chivas USA (-)
That ticking sound heard in the halls of the HDC is the clock counting down an end of the season for Chivas USA, they would need to win 8 of their remaining 10, while getting draws in the other two for them to equal their 2009 record. I am taking bets on that not happening, but they may bet a win as they play host to DC United on Sunday.
11. KC Wizards (-)
Don't be fooled again, their 4-1 win over New England this weekend is more fluke than fact. It has been since week 1 that KC scored that many goals in a month, let alone a match. KC is a decent team when playing on their postage stamp sized pitch, but if you want to know how good they aren't just watch what happens when they travel to the HDC to face the Galaxy on Saturday, win that match and maybe I will believe that these Wizards might have some magic left in their season.
10. Colorado Rapids (-)
Yeah, a team that had really impressed me in the first 1/3 of the season has to be the biggest dissapointment in the second third of the MLS season and yet they would make the playoffs if they started today. Nope they aren't that good the East is just that bad, their 7-6-7 would put them in 3rd place in the East. The Rapids were able to get one victory in August when they beat San Jose at home, maybe facing another Western Conference team will help them rinse the taste of their 3-1 thrashing by Columbus out of their mouthes.
9. Toronto FC (-1)
Not sure if their 4-1 loss at home (their first of 2010) was a fluke, or if New York simply figured out how to get their 16 million dollar payroll to deliver? Could it be the drag of a tough midweek CCL battle? We should find out as TFC will head to Panama to face a team of players who put on great auditions for the 2012 Olympic diving team last week, Arabe Unido. The task gets tougher as they will head home for a Saturday showdown with Real Salt Lake, 4 matches in 14 days could really take a toll on the Reds.
8. Chicago Fire (-1)
Heartbreak has to be the feeling for the Fire as they battled back from mistakes to draw even with Houston 3-3, only to lose the match 3-4. After a tough midweek win over New England, one is still left wondering can the Fire do enough with their remaining matches to get into a playoff spot? No test will be bigger for them than having to travel to Qwest Field and to face the now hot Seattle Sounders on Saturday, my match of the week.
7. San Jose Earthquakes (+3)
Well the Quakes handed the Galaxy their 2nd lost of the month and their 4th of the season and you have to believe if it comes down to tie breakers having a win over LA at home and a draw with them at the HDC will be helpful. The Quakes are still dealing with injury issues, but I think this team could really sneak up on people if they can hold on to a playoff spot. They face a real test this weekend as they will head to New York to face off against the Red Bulls, a result there could go a far way for San Jose.
6. Seattle Sounders (-)
No MLS action for the Sounders, who were the only MLS side to lose their opening CCL match, but they were also the only team to have to play on the road. Now they are home for a midweek CCL battle with Monterrey, and then a weekend MLS battle as they host the Chicago Fire. With just 9 MLS matches left, the Sounders need wins at home to make sure they get enough points to make it to the post season.
5. New York Red Bulls (-)
Well the Red Bulls put up 4 goals at BMO field against Toronto, was it a fluke? Or has that high priced lineup figured out that if they don't deliver they may be sent for a long walk on a short pier? Either way, if they continue to pump out goals like that they should be happy to be back into the playoffs after a very bad 2009. Up next is a home match against San Jose who beat LA 1-0, last weekend it was LA 1-0 over New York, should be a very interesting match.
4. FC Dallas (-)
A 1-0 win over Chivas USA at home is good for FC Dallas, it is their 9th win of the season and with just 2 losses they are clearly a team that is trying to make a statement. If they can continue to get wins, instead of settling for draws they could pose a real threat in the playoffs. They get a real test as they will head to Ohio to face off with the Crew on Saturday, winner of this will solidify their place in the top 3.
3. Columbus Crew (-)
The Crew rebounded from their loss to RSL and took it out on the Colorado Rapids in a 3-1 win at Crew Stadium. I know the Crew are a solid team, but how solid are they? For me that remains the question, are they the team that got dominated by RSL, or the team that dominated Colorado? We should know a lot more after they face off against FC Dallas on Saturday.
3. Los Angeles Galaxy (-1)
No CCL matches to blame, no hetic schedule to blame, no excuses for giving up an early goal to San Jose and not being able to answer. The team that held on to a win over New York two weeks ago, couldn't battle back against the Quakes. It leaves one to wonder if maybe LA has hit a wall in recent weeks? I have to believe that they will be able to rebound at home against the Wizards, but we should learn a lot about the Galaxy in the next couple weeks.
1. Real Salt Lake (+1)
They beat the Crew in their last MLS match, and LA failed to get a result against San Jose this weekend, so a move that I wanted to make a month ago finally takes place. RSL is the best team in MLS, they have 21 straight results in MLS matches at Rio Tinto Stadium, they have lost just once since April 24th, they have the most goals scored in MLS (36) and the best goal differential in MLS (+20). Can they hold on to this spot? That will be the real test for RSL, they have a busy CCL schedule that has them in Mexico City for a match on Wednesday, then flying to Toronto to face TFC on Saturday, then back home for a huge match against the Red Bulls on the 4th and then off to Seattle for a match on the 9th. Busy boys but if they can handle the travel and get solid results, then RSL can continue their match to another MLS Cup.