Well it was an interesting weekend were more than a few matches were decided by questionable calls made on the pitch. But even now we have started to see the cream to rise to the top and the teams at the bottom to decline into the abyss, and the middle has become very muddy indeed but we are just two matches into the season just 6% of the matches to be played. So again volatility is the rule this week:
18. Portland Timbers - down 4
Ah the grand thoughts of Portland who thought that joining MLS would be easy, I mean after all they have a history in USL and all the way back to NASL and beyond. They failed to understand that the past is the past and now you are playing in MLS and if you can't play defense you will struggle for results. 5 goals allowed and just a single goal scored, no team has a worse goal differential and few have looked as bad as the Timbers have to start the season. Their task doesn't get easier as they head to New England to face the undefeated Revolution.
17. Chivas USA - down 1
Rebuilding a team is no easy task and most people expected huge struggles for Chivas USA and that is exactly what has happened. As with any team that is adjusting to a new coach and many new players they show moments of ability, but more often it is the lack of consistency that will mark their play. A really tough task is in front of them as they will head to Toronto to face a team in a similar rebuilding mode.
more after the jump:
16. Columbus Crew - down 1
You get few chances to beat a top rival at home when they are missing most of their key players, to fail to capitalize on countless chances will leave even the most die-hard fan to question their faith. The Crew let go over starters with over 12,000 minutes, and that lack of leadership on the pitch has clearly shown so far this year. How bad are things in Columbus, rumors have it that even Robbie Rogers is asking for a trade. Maybe they will find a way to reward their home fans next weekend when FC Dallas comes to town.
15. Toronto FC - up 3
I am still not a believer that this team will have what it takes over the long run of the MLS season, but I would never count them out at home. You would actually expect more from a team that has only faced expansion teams so far this year, but the Reds are also trying to rebuild their team, and they have some very good pieces like De Ro to build around. Up next another home match, and another team they should be able to get a result against as Chivas USA will head to BMO field.
14. Houston Dynamo - up 3
Well going into Qwest field (won't be saying that much longer) and getting a result isn't an easy task but Houston despite being outplayed most of the match found a way to capitalize on a mistake and got a goal that gave them a huge road draw against the Sounders. This team still looks to have some real issues but Tally Hall in goal is not one of them. Up next is a trip to the big apple for a huge test against the New York Red Bulls.
13. Seattle Sounders - down 5
I know this is a bit harsh but with 3 matches in the record books and 2 at home to be without a victory is a bit concerning. They must figure out how to convert the many chances they have been creating into goals or this could be a very long season for them, you must score more than one goal in 3 matches if you want to get wins. Now they will head down to San Jose next weekend, a very big match for both teams.
12. Vancouver Whitecaps - even
Mental mistakes are typical with expansion teams, but it is clear that the Whitecaps have some real talent on their team. As the long MLS season advances the question will remain fitness and playing without mistakes, something that can be hard even on experienced teams. I will be interesting to see who they do next weekend without Hassli as they host Sporting Kansas City.
11. DC United - down 2
Well after a huge opening weekend, there was a huge let down as they lost 2-1 on the road to New England. Charlie Davies got the one goal for DC from the PK spot in stoppage time, but every goal in the match had some level of controversy involved in it. There are still a lot of questions as this new DC United team tries to find form and play as a team. DC will face a huge challenge next week as they head to Colorado to face the Rapids (who are 2-0) on Sunday.
10. Chicago Fire - up 2
This week the Fire followed up their opening day draw against FC Dallas with a 3-2 home opener over Sporting KC, but I still think there are a lot of questions about the win and the call against Omar Bravo that sent him off in the 34th minute and if the Fire are for real? That question will have to wait as the Fire won't be in action again until April 9th when they will head to Seattle.
9. FC Dallas - down 4
Falling like a rock are the hoops as they simply look like a team that is lacking direction on the pitch, one has to wonder if the loss of veterans like Dax McCarty, Atiba Harris, Heath Pearce, and Jeff Cunningham are having a bigger impact that expected. FCD has only found the back of the net once in their first two matches, and now they will get to head to Columbus for a Friday night match up with the Crew.
8. Sporting KC - down 2
Nobody said playing your first 10 matches on the road would be easy, and losing a man (who is your leading scorer) in the 34th minute of a match makes it even harder. At least the boys from KC made it interesting by scoring two short handed goals but it wasn't enough as they lost 3-2. Perhaps they will want to keep NFL'er Chad Ochocino around a couple more weeks, but I doubt he will be making the trip with them to Vancouver next weekend.
7. Los Angeles Galaxy - down 4
Before the season started many considered the Galaxy the team to beat, but now 1-1-1 they look like a team that is middle of the pack in MLS and that is where I put them. There is a lot of talent on this team but they really struggle when you force them to play from behind and in MLS you will have to play from behind sometimes. Getting beat 4-1 by RSL had to hurt but getting so totally out played in the first half exposed the Galaxy as a team that right now is just average, up next they return home to host the Philadelphia Union in what should be a very interesting match.
6. New England Revolution - up 5
Perhaps no team this early is a bigger surprise than New England, picked to finish at the bottom of MLS, they got a tough road draw against LA last weekend and then a 2-1 win in their home opener against DC United. I don't think that they are this good but the results so far say they are, a lot of questions yet to be answered about this squad. They likely will pick up another win as they host the struggling Portland Timbers this weekend.
5. San Jose Earthquakes - up 5
Well after an opening day loss at home the Quakes regrouped and headed to north Texas for a showdown with FC Dallas. It was 2 goals in the first 25 minutes by Chris "Wonder" Wondolowski that secured the win and much like in 2010 if Wondo can finish then San Jose is a very tough team. The question is can they find some offense outside of their golden boot? Next up they will head home to face the Seattle Sounders, who have their own scoring issues.
4. Philadelphia Union - up 3
While wins over Houston on opening weekend and a home win over expansion side Vancouver may not be impressive to some, when only 3 teams in the league are 2-0-0 it is enough to get you spot #4 in my power rankings. The Union also are one of only two teams who haven't given up a goal yet in 2011, not sure if that is improved defense or facing two sub-par opponents? We should find out a lot about this team as they head to the Home Depot Center for a showdown with the LA Galaxy.
3. New York Red Bulls - down 1
I get that you were missing a number of key players, really I get that, but you were facing a Columbus team that simply appears to have more issues than Lindsey Lohan (or just Lindsey). If you want to be an elite team in MLS you will need depth, and that is clearly something that New York doesn't have enough of yet. The upside is that they didn't give up a goal at Columbus and alongside the Union they are the only team yet to have an opponent find the back of the net. The stars will be back as the Red Bulls head home to face the Houston Dynamo this weekend, they should be able to handle their business at home.
2. Colorado Rapids - up 2
Well their schedule hasn't been the most challenging but two wins is all you could ask of the defending MLS Cup champions and that is what they have delivered. Unlike their opening day match against Portland, they only found the back of the net once against Chivas USA but it was enough for the 1-0 win. Up next for the Rapids will be a Sunday showdown with DC United at home, can anyone say 3-0?
1. Real Salt Lake - even
Getting an opening day win on the road over a playoff team is good, beating the defending Supporters' Shield winner 4-1 for your home opener is better than good. RSL played perhaps the best 45 minutes of soccer in the first half that anyone has seen from a team in the league is some time, and to do it against a team that many expect to be near the top of the table at the end of the season is even more impressive. Oh yes LA was without Landon, but RSL's depth allowed them to not miss a beat despite missing Alvaro Saborio, Will Johnson, and Arturo Alvarez. Paulo Jr. got his first start and had an assists, drew a PK (that Javier Morales converted) and then scored the final goal of RSL's incredible night. How good was RSL? Well Javier Morales who had two goals and was simply impressive all night long, he has already won MLS Player of the Week Honors, and is up for Goal of the Week as well. RSL was clearly the class of the weekend.
Clearly it is too early in the season to put too much weight on things but some teams have taken these early matches as a way to put their stamp on what they expect from their season.
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