Well it was an exciting week in MLS and the top 3 teams all claimed victory in their matches, while one of the bottom 3 teams shocked a playoff contender. My picks ended up being right in all but 2 of this weekends matches, so let's take a look at where the teams end up after week 23.
16. DC United (-)
Out of the US Open Cup, and another loss in MLS action and with just 15 points after 23 matches it is clear that the season is over for DC United. They can play spoiler but their time would be better spent looking for a coach, and trying to figure out who will score goals for them. With just 15 goals scored, DC United could set a record for the fewest goals scored in MLS history. Next up for them is a trip to BMO field where they will try to become the second team to get a win against TFC at home.
15. Houston Dynamo (-1)
After the huge loss last week to Colorado, they dropped another match to a Western Conference foe this weekend as they dropped a 2-1 result at home when San Jose picked up the win to make the gap between the Quakes and Dynamo 9 points. With 23 points from 23 matches it is clear that Houston is out of the playoffs and they are another team that needs to start looking for solutions to their woes, they need to replace an aging Brian Ching and with AEG letting them know they can go find a big time DP, maybe they will find someone to help them get back to their winning ways. They Dynamo get a bit of a break as they won't be back in MLS action until Sept 18th when they will host Toronto who have just one win on the road this year.
14. Chivas USA (-2)
In what may have been their "win or out" match, Chivas got beat 3-0 by Colorado and with just 22 points out of 22 matches they would likely need 20 from their next 8, and that simply isn't going to happen. Chivas have a decent core but with a new coach this year, I would expect that more changes to their roster will be coming this off season. Chivas will play host on Friday night to the New England Revolution and both teams are trying to keep their grasp on very slim playoff hopes.
more after the jump:
13. Philadelphia Union (-)
A weekend draw with the KC Wizards may boost the home town fans but the reality is that the Union won't be repeating the first year run that Seattle made last year. They have some good young players but they are still an expansion team that will need to upgrade at several positions, but they have many good players to build around. The Union will host Chicago on Saturday and the Fire will need a win if they need to keep their playoff dreams alive.
12. New England Revolution (+3)
I told people that the Rev's could be a trap match for the Sounders and sure enough they pulled out a 3-1 win which really surprised me. The Revolution have a number of problem spots on their roster and will need a lot of rebuilding in the off season, but they have some talented individuals and when they step up the Rev's can pull off big wins like they did this week. They will be facing a very similar team on Friday when they head out to LA to face Chivas USA.
11. Toronto FC (-1)
Another road match, another road loss for Toronto FC, and while TFC might be in 3rd place in the East, they are now 5 points out of the playoff hunt, and without road wins they will not make it into the post season. I know that Preki would never make excuses, the reality is that they were missing several of their key players when they lost 1-0 at FC Dallas. The Red's will be getting those players who were gone for international duty will be back, but they have a Wednesday match-up at Toyota Park with Chicago, and then a home match on Saturday with DC United. I have to expect that they will get one win, but that won't be enough to get into the playoffs.
10. Chicago Fire (+1)
Everyone keeps trying to convince me that the Fire are a playoff caliber team, but with 25 points from 20 matches I find it hard to believe they can get 17 from their next 10, but this week should give us a much better picture of what the Fire are capable of. They get a home match against Toronto FC, who have just one road win, and then a Saturday matchup at Philadelphia. The Fire should win both matches, and I would be much more likely to think a team with 31 points in 22 matches might be able to make a playoff run than one with 25.
9. Kansas City Wizards (-)
A point on the road didn't do the Wizards any favors as they still sit 5 points out of the final playoff spot, but it is better than getting no points on the road. Now the Wizards get a couple weeks off (who is making these schedules?) as they won't play again until the 19th when they will have to travel to the Home Depot Center to face Chivas USA.
8. Seattle Sounders (-2)
Was it just a hiccup in the Sounders march to the playoffs? Their 3-1 loss at New England has people taking a second look at the Sounders who seemed to have found the form they had last year when they made a playoff run. The Sounders will get a quick chance to prove that it was just a little bump in the road, as they will take to the Qwest pitch on Saturday to face Real Salt Lake (whose last match at Qwest was winning MLS Cup).
7. San Jose (-)
San Jose picked up a huge road result against Houston on Sunday to give them 32 points from 21 matches, this despite missing players on national team call ups, injuries, and suspensions. As a team sitting on the playoff bubble, I have to say I like their chances as their new DP Geovanni looks like he can provide the offensive boost the Quakes have needed. They will face a very tough test on Saturday as they will play host to the hottest team in MLS when FC Dallas come to Buck Shaw Stadium.
6. Colorado Rapids (+2)
A huge Western Conference win over Chivas USA 3-0, has the Rapids looking more and more like they will make the playoffs for the first time in several years. They will be able to reinforce their chance by getting a result this weekend when they head to New York to face TH14 and the Red Bulls.
5. New York Red Bulls (-)
The Red Bulls came, then like the last 21 teams to take the pitch at Rio Tinto Stadium, they left without a win. Yes they were missing players, but the harsh reality is they got out played for vast stretches of the match by Real Salt Lake and in the end they lost the match 1-0. Depth is clearly an issue that New York needs to deal with if they are going to make a deep playoff run. Next up they will play host to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
4. Los Angeles Galaxy (-)
The Galaxy may be struggling but with their 1-1 draw at Chicago they are at 44 points and still the top team in the West and tied for the top of the Supporters' Shield. One only has to wonder what will happen when Beckham makes his return? Of course LA also has the benefit of 5 of their last 7 matches being home matches, how did that happen? Well we will find out a lot about LA on Saturday when they play host to the top team in the Eastern Conference as Columbus comes to town.
3. FC Dallas (-)
A win is a win, is a win and FC Dallas now have 10 wins and look like they will be fighting for the top spot in the West and trying to keep themselves in the race for the Supporters' Shield. A home 1-0 win over TFC isn't as impressive as some other results of the top teams, but it was a win. Now they get to head to California to face San Jose in a big showdown of Western Conference foes.
2. Columbus Crew (-)
Two wins over DC United in one week, one in US Open Cup and then a 1-0 win in MLS action on Saturday. The win on Saturday moved the Crew up to 44 points and that matches the number LA has put up so far and keeps them one point in front of RSL in the race for the Supporters' Shield. They will have a bit more of a test on Saturday as they will head to LA to face the Galaxy in a battle of first place teams. One has to wonder why FSC is showing the Fire vs Union match on national TV instead of that match between the two top teams?
1. Real Salt Lake (-)
Well RSL have set a number of team records this year with their 1-0 win over New York on Saturday, including most shutouts in a season, most wins in a season, and they tied a MLS record with 22 home matches without a defeat. There is no time for the defending MLS Cup champions to rest, as they will head back to the stadium where they lifted the Cup and this time face the Seattle Sounders in a huge match that could see them leapfrog both LA and Columbus in the Supporters' Shield race. It will be on ESPN2 and despite the late start time 9:00 pm MT, I expect a good number of people will be up late in Salt Lake City.
There you go, my power rankings for week 23 of the MLS season.
OFF MY SOAPBOX